by Rufus Woods
Pat Wet Turner, who survived a near-fatal car accident as a high school senior in 1965 that resulted in the amputation of her right leg, has never let her disability define her being. Now, Turner has written a heartfelt memoir, Skiing Uphill, a Story of Strength and Perseverance, to share what she went through following the accident and the ways she continuously found ways to meet life with a sense of adventure and personal courage.
Turner, an avid skier before the accident, returned to the ski slope with adaptive outriggers and went on to compete nationally and internationally, including a silver medal in New Zealand in 1978. She later became a ski instructor, and also taught school both in California, and in the Eastmont and Wenatchee school districts in Washington state. Her missing leg became a tool with which she engaged students.
In the book, she shares important lessons she learned. When I interviewed Turner a few years ago, she summed up her philosophy with these words: “Life is hard, you will survive, and the more friends you have the better.” At every crossroad in her life, she focused on what she could do rather than what she was unable to do – a philosophy that any person can adopt.
Turner hopes that the book will provide inspiration for individuals to see her own challenges with more courage and resolve.