Mary Free Bed’s ski clinic puts on a show

Kent County

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Physical limitations didn’t stop dozens of people from skiing on Reeds Lake Friday.

The equipment they use is a little different than what’s normally towed by a boat. What isn’t different is the ability of the skiers who took to Reeds Lake Friday morning.

The grin on 8-year-old Ezra Ippel’s face said it all.

“It’s fun,” he said after a spin around the lake on a special ski board.

Ezra has a condition called arthrogryposis which affects his joints. Arthrogryposis limits Ezra’s movement, but not his abilities.

“I play basketball. I sometimes play hockey, dodgeball,” he said.

“He’s always up for an adventure, always up to do anything that requires speed,” added his mom, Kendra.

“Sometimes, you go so fast,” Ezra explained of the experience. “You think you’re going to fall over. And then you don’t.”

Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports program coordinated Friday’s ski clinic, with Kentwood’s Parks and Recreation Department supplying the boat, jet skis and help.

A total of 24 people took the plunge, proving that while the way their bodies work may pose a challenge, they don’t always pose a limit to what they can do.

“It’s just finding a way to adapt so that these kids and participants can get out on the water,” said Kyle Ringweld, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s sports coordinator.

“We have a mixture of (skiers with) physical disabilities, cognitive impairments. We’re just trying to give them an opportunity to get out there,” he added.

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