Shredding through life’s twists and turns: Brianne Alley undeterred by Cerebral Palsy

Black Hills Backstory: Brianne Alley
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 9:55 AM MST
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LEAD, S.D. (KEVN) -If you attended the Lead-Deadwood School District in the last 30 years, you probably went on a school ski trip. But Brianne Alley didn’t have that opportunity.

“My sisters always skied at Deer Mountain when we were little,” Alley said. “I always wanted to do what they can do.”

Alley has cerebral palsy (CP), a movement disorder that appears in early childhood. It comes with a myriad of complications, including poor coordination, weak muscles and problems speaking.

In 1998 “Ski for Life” came to Alley’s school, and for a teen who wanted to be just like her sisters, they allowed her to shred the slopes.

“I felt like I could do something my sisters always did and (that) I always wanted to do,” Alley said. “And finally, I could be involved in what they were doing.”

Twenty-two years later, Alley and her friend Staci Carsten reconnected on the ski hill. Carsten, a long time ski coach, is impressed with Alley daily and ranks her high on the ski level.

“In the coaching world, we’d call her a solid Level 2. But I would probably put her up higher than that, given her gumption and her ability to fight all the disparities she has in front of her,” Carsten said. “Standing up is hard for anyone on a pair of skis or snowboard. For her, it’s hard to stand up in general. She’s so rad to watch and be so good at the sport. I’m super stoked to have a ski buddy. She’s fun.”

Neither blizzard nor whiteout keeps Alley off the slopes and certainly not her disability.

“She’s an inspiration to so many people who let things that aren’t a big deal stop them. Like myself,” Carsten laughs. “If you’re having a bad day think of Brianne, she has bad days too, but she still just gets up. She’s an inspiration, and that’s all I can say.”

“Try it because you don’t know until you try it,” Alley said. “I grew up with four sisters. If they thought they could do it, I thought I could do it. I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t until I knew I couldn’t do it. So just try. You might surprise yourself and other people.”

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