The people involved are what makes Ski for Life such a fabulous event. Here are just a few of them
SKI FOR LIFE AMBASSADOR – BEN PETTINGILL
After losing his eyesight, overnight, at the tender age of 16, Ben learnt to not just accept his new situation but to embrace it. In doing so, Ben has completed multiple Spartan Obstacle Course Races, coached a basketball team, water skied the Southern 80, mastered riding a four-wheel motorbike, trekked the Kokoda Track and has perfected the art of life’s most mundane tasks like pouring milk into his morning coffee and taking his dog, Aussie, for a walk through the local park. It doesn’t stop there though. Ben has a bucket list a mile long full of items that most would deem impossible for someone with only 2% eyesight.
These feats and aspirations form the basis of Ben’s motivational presentations that he delivers to corporate and education audiences in order to prove that there are more ways to see than just with your eyes. Ben will tell you that although he may have lost 98% of his eyesight overnight, he now sees clearer than ever before using new found forms of vision, True and Limitless Vision.
TEAM PROFILE – TEAM WEE WAA
This will be Team Wee Waa’s 1st Ski for Life….
Wee Waa (population 1600) is located 2 1/2 hours west of Tamworth in North West NSW. Our local ski ground is Yarrie Lake (made by a meteor many years ago) although in drought its dry … so we head to the dams.
Team Wee Waa is made up of a group of family friends who all enjoy skiing (and all the rowdy fun associated!). Leading the team is our Captain, John Tully, along with the parents of our skiers … Ben & Trish Keft, Jeff & Michelle Constable and Steve & Dee Hamilton. Our youthful team consists of 6 skiers … Edwina (8) and Charlie (14) Keft, Georgia (11), Carissa (13) and Hayley (14) Constable, Miranda (12) and Lara (14) Hamilton.
This is a cause so very dear to our hearts and we are all looking forward to the 15 hour drive to get our first look at the mighty Murray River! Our hope is to raise awareness in the youth of our district and get them expressing their feelings from an early age. We also hope to make new friends, soak in the sights and show the “Mexicans” how to have fun!!!
TEAM PROFILE – SKI-U-LATER
Travelling from Mount Gambier, Team “ski-u-later” is headed up by the awesome Road crew team, Gip (Woodsie) & Sue (Guardian Angel of camping). Our ski team consist of Rob (part-time boat driver, part-time ski show-boater), Sal (trailer reverser extraordinaire), Captain Paul (funny man & music playlist director), Naomi (G&T mixologist) & Soph, Alice, Claire & Grace (Young guns who can ski for days & never get sore!! We both love them & despise them)
While we all have a love for skiing and the amazing Murray River, we have all been touched in one way or another by the devastating effects of suicide. Ski for Life gives us the precious opportunity to do what we love while helping others. To be able to travel the river, spend time with new friends and old and make memories together, feels like a gift of a lifetime.
TEAM PROFILE – BAROSSA GANGSTA’S
Barossa Gangsta’s team is made up of friends and family who love the river. After seeing the Ski for Life crew arrive in Waikerie for lunch last year, we decided to jump on board this year. What a better way to see the Murray and raise awareness and funds towards Men’s Mental Health.
Our team is made up of five skiers – Richard, Nick, Michael, Belinda and Rebecca. Boat drivers – Lyndon, Monica and Rhett. Road crew – Ian, Juanita, Garry and Lyn. Plus we have five little skiers in the making – Corban, Ryan, Phoebe, Frankie and Daisy.
TEAM PROFILE – GREGGIES GROUPIES
Led by Farrell Flat farmers Greg and Jane Kellock, Greggies Groupies continue in their tradition of work hard, play hard.
Their family of skiers, with Sam, Matt, Ellie and Annie, know the river well having spent every summer exploring its delights for many years. As the family has extended, so has the team, with Sam’s Emma, her sister Nicole and partner Aish joining the crew. In 2017 we have Connor Lamond coming along for the trip and use his expertise as an auctioneer on the Saturday Night in Cobdogla for the dinner and auction. Novice skiers have joined the gang over the years and learnt the skills to enjoy the river and their own achievements.
The Kellocks are joined by Pat and Lol Hill as road crew, family friends from way back, who like nothing better than spending time with this mad mob.
The Kellocks and Hills, like so many rural families, have been touched by lives lost too soon, anguish felt by too many, guilt laden souls that will never get answers. Suicide affects a whirlpool of family, friends and extended community, especially in the country.
The Menswatch program, training ordinary men, living amongst ordinary communities, to recognise and support those who may be struggling in their midst, is something Greggies Groupies support wholeheartedly. Raising the awareness of the deep challenges faced by many men in their effort to live up to their own and other’s expectations, is close to the heart of this team. We need to talk about it, we need to face the challenge that exists in every town, every street, in every family, everywhere.
Ski for Life offers the opportunity to not only spend time having fun with family and friends, but, most importantly, to talk about and acknowledge the challenges faced by many, and raise funds for Menswatch programs to continue in our State. Greggies Groupies are proud supporters of Ski for Life.
TEAM PROFILE – WATT’S UP
Watt’s Up Ski Team consists of Watty, Sue, Lachie, Mitch & Mia Watt, Paddy Sherry (our much loved god-son) and our fantastic road crew David & Pam Snook. We have been a part of the Ski for Life family since its inception six years ago when Bill Stockman came up with the idea of going for a lazy 500km ski to raise awareness for a cause very close to our hearts.
From an organisers perspective I (Sue) have got a real buzz out of witnessing this life changing event grow from 25 participants and 3 boats to 200 participants and 20 boats, but more importantly the life long friends that we have made along the way have become an important part of our lives.
Skiing has been non-negotiable in our family with the kids having all pretty much skiied as soon as they could walk. Skiing is our summer sport & dirt bikes throughout winter. Watty just can’t help himself when it comes to teaching people to ski, he has literally taught hundreds of people to have a go with his motto of ‘never let go of the rope’ and ‘go hard or go home’.
Looking forward to reacquainting with old friends, making new friends and creating memories over three days together.