Overcoming ALS to ski again | SummitDaily.com

Overcoming ALS to ski again

KRISTIN SKVORCsummit daily news

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

Jim Thompson learned to ski at the age of 6 in Iron Mountain, Mich., and never stopped. He frequented Colorado to ski while living in Milwaukee, Wis., for 40 years. He also officiated at about 25 World Cup Races around the world per year.The 70-year-old Thompson has resided in Breckenridge since 2001, and according to his primary care taker, Jill Brenner, “This has always been his dream retirement area.”

Three and a half years ago, Thompson had his first symptoms of Amytrophic Lateral Scoliosis (ALS). He experienced aching legs and fell down while hiking for no reason. He was later diagnosed with ALS in August of 2004. ALS destroys the nervous system and attacks the spine. In Thompson’s case, it is acting rapidly. Although Thompson cannot move, his brain still functions and he can feel.

On Dec. 15, he felt the movement of skiing when he went to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center to ski for the first time since being diagnosed. He took three runs and Brenner said he enjoyed it but was cold. Thompson wants to go skiing again, probably on a warmer day.