A Hartlepool woman who had to have one of her legs amputated as a child is enjoying hitting the ski slopes thanks to a new prosthetic limb.
Hannah Flanders, 42, of Hartlepool, has been going on skiing holidays with her family since the age of four, and despite losing her left leg below the knee following a coach crash in Zimbabwe in 2001, she’s continued to enjoy those winter trips.
The skiing prosthesis she wore originally was bulky, heavy and quite painful, so she was only able to use it for short periods of time.
However, after going to Dorset Orthopaedic’s Midlands clinic in Burton-on-Trent for a new everyday leg, she asked as to whether any new skiing prostheses were on the market, and discovered the ProCarve, made by German manufacturer Ottobock, which is specifically designed for skiing and related watersports, such as wakeboarding.
The ProCarve provides targeted support for the wearer so they can carve through the snow or water with their skis easily.
In order to make sure the ProCarve was fitted properly, she and her prosthetist, along with some family members, went to a nearby indoor ski centre to try it out and make any adjustments along the way.
“It was great to try it out properly and make sure it was correctly aligned before I went away on my holidays,” she said.
“If the angles weren’t right on it, my ski would have been pretty wonky.”
Hannah has since been on three family holidays — with her parents, sister and her sister’s children — with the ProCarve, and now she’s got to grips with the way it feels and reacts, she can realise her full potential.
She said: “It’s taken a few trips but I’ve definitely mastered it now.
“I find the more speed I have the better it feels.
“I can put my entire weight on it, and I can trust it fully.
“I can go as fast as I like now and I can stay on the slopes a lot longer too before I need to take a rest.
“So it’s been great, and I’m looking forward to our next trip out there.”