Machine invented in Steamboat Springs helps disabled people get on the ski slopes

Steamboat Springs — Eric Berkey was nervous about returning to the ski slopes as a quadriplegic.

“I was so used to being an able-bodied skier all my life, I didn’t know what to expect or if I’d be able to do it,” Berkey, 43, said Thursday at his room in Casey’s Pond. “I had some trepidations.”

In 2011, Berkey tripped on a fuel line and fell off his family’s boat while it was on a trailer in San Diego.

Restricted to a motorized wheelchair following his accident, the former ski patroller, who used to chase snowstorms in the Rocky Mountains, didn’t ski for nearly four years after his fall.

Then he moved to Steamboat Springs and met Wes Dearborn and Steve Harrison.

The men had a brand new invention that would help Berkey return to the slopes.

Eric Berkey uses the sit ski simulator at Casey’s Pond. Berkey, who was injured after falling off a boat in 2011, now skis weekly at the Steamboat Ski Area.

It’s called the sit ski simulator, and it allows someone to learn the basics of sit skiing from the warmth and comfort of their home.

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