Paul finds place on the mountains


Opportunity to live his passion brings joy
Tuesday June 26, 2012 — Michelle Strutzenberger

When Paul gets out on a crisp winter morning and heads down Mt. Seymour in the B.C. Rockies on his skis, it obviously does something for him, say those who know him.

Paul says it’s the chance to wear his boots and yellow jacket, and go fast that he loves most about the sport he mastered as a child.

It may be too that out there on the wide open hills he can be as loud as he likes, and not only does no one complain but they echo his yells of delight.

There’s also the fact that in the crowd he’s just another skier, his skill blending him in with the rest of the regulars.

Whatever the reasons, when Paul is done for the day, he’s different.

“You can tell more how much he enjoys it by his mood and volume,” says Michelle Buxbaum, who accompanies Paul as a support through the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI).

“When he is calm and happy is one of the few times his volume is low.”

Dawn Alton, who also works with Paul through BACI, has also been taken by his response.

“He comes back from skiing in a great mood, he talks about going when he knows it is coming up, he requests this activity and he talks about his day when he gets back to his residence with people.”

Paul’s evident joy is especially noteworthy because he otherwise indicates anxiety much of the time, and also seems to have few other interests.

After skiing throughout his childhood, Paul’s involvement lessened somewhat once he moved out of his family home. He’s been able to resume the sport over the last two seasons, thanks to BACI organizing the funding required, as well as arranging for the two staff needed to accompany him as back-up support. Activity is now underway to connect Paul with volunteer support skiers, to broaden his network of friends and acquaintances on the hills and lessen his paid support.

Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)

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