Still Learning Lessons In The Great Outdoors



Two weeks ago I was invited on a day of skiing at the Snow Bowl with my friend and fellow outdoor enthusiast, Lud Kaftan. I hadn't been on skis in a long time and I know, being on the other side of fifty, I had some second thoughts when I said yes. But I was game if Lud was, so off we went. We were fortunate in that Vince Lane, a ski patrol member, accompanied us to the slopes.

None of this may seem too unique except for the fact that Lud has MS and has no use of his legs and limited use of his arms. This does not detract from his great enthusiasm for the outdoors and the slopes. When you mention these kinds of activities, his first response is, "I'm up for it, and when do we go?"


Lud Kaftan, center, is a role model. Ready and willing to tackle just about any outdoor adventure, even though multiple sclerosis has confined him to a wheelchair and left him with no use of his legs and very little use of his arms.

In his younger years, he was an avid downhill skier in Colorado and still enjoys the thrill of the mountain experience.

Lud is always game for a new outdoor adventure. A couple of years ago, Lud wanted to hunt elk and he went through the firearms safety class and lots of target shooting before the actual drawings. He drew a tag on the Navajo Army Depot near Flagstaff and off he went in his specialized van with Tige Godac, myself and our wives all joining in the fun. Those three days taught me a valuable lesson, and that is to appreciate and enjoy what we have been given. We had a great time without Lud ever pulling the trigger.

Well, back to skiing. We arrived at the Snow Bowl and we were all fitted for equipment and Lud got into his bi-ski with outriggers and I was given instructions on being a blocker for Lud and Vince. Needless to say, I was very nervous on the chair going up the hill.

As we started down the slope, they took off and I had a difficult time staying up with them. They were skiing a bit faster than I was accustomed to.

Lud Kaftan, the man on the bi-ski, and his trailer, Vince Lane, were the hit of the mountain, attracting lots of attention as they traversed the slopes the rest of the day, enjoying some great downhill skiing.

After about four more runs, we called it a day and headed to the lodge to relax before we made the trip home.

I suppose you might say Lud is a real role model to me. His appreciation of the moment and the outdoors has made a lasting impact on how to appreciate each day we have been given.

So today, enjoy your relationships with friends and the outdoors in God's creation.

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