WHISTLER MOUNTAIN – During the last three years Nick Brush has visited some of the world’s best ski resorts – in Europe, Chile, Korea and Japan, to name a few far-flung slopes – and got paid for it.
For the next few years he’ll be seeing a lot of Abbotsford instead.
Brush, a Kelowna resident, has been the guide for top-ranked visually-impaired alpine skier Glen Williamson of Markham, Ont., on the international paralympic circuit.
While Williamson wants to keep going, Brush is opting to enrol in Columbia Bible College’s four-year outdoor leadership program now that the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games are over.
“The experience has been incredible,” said Brush, 21, after he and Williamson came in sixth in the super combined event Saturday. “I don’t think I can think of a job that I get paid to ski, and I get to travel the world at the same time. That, to me, is what I love to do because I love to ski.”
A coach approached Brush about being a guide when it looked like his able-bodied ski career had stalled. He tried it out with Williamson and connected with the easy-going skier. “It just flew from there,” said Brush.
They won a world title two out of three years together, which Brush said “is a pretty big thing.” But the Paralympics were a disappointment for the duo, which didn’t finish in the downhill, was eighth in the slalom, fifth in the giant slalom and sixth in the super-G and super combined.
“It sucks that we didn’t podium in this event, but just the fact I’m out here with the crowd just makes me smile,” said Brush nodding toward the stands full of spectators.
At CBC he’ll get to do some of his other favourite activities like kayaking and climbing.
“I hope to do it all with this program,” Brush said. “I figure I’ve got to mature sometime.”