Ski Instructor’s Biggest Lesson: 'I Want To Live' - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Ski Instructor’s Biggest Lesson: 'I Want To Live'

Posted: Updated:

MT. SPOKANE, Wash. - Ski instructor Scott Hackney has hit the slopes for 30 years, and in that time, he's been through quite a bit.

But it's the lessons he's learned that are so inspiring.

He served in the Army during the first Gulf War, overcome a battle with alcohol, has been on two expeditions to the Himalayas, and is spending three weeks this summer in the Grand Canyon.

But there's one thing he can't do: use his hands.

"I'm fighting a terminal disease," he told KHQ. "I'm fighting ALS."

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  It's a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain.  He was formally diagnosed a year ago, but began to notice cramps in his forearms and legs in 2004.  

"Then in 2009, I noticed the muscle [between my thumb and first finger] in my hand had disappeared. That's when I said, ‘Scott, there's something seriously wrong with you.'"

It turns out, Hackney has been fighting ALS for 9 years, and it's a battle he's winning right now.

"Most people are in a wheelchair at 1-3 years, and dead at 5.  Not me," Hackney said.

So far, he's only lost the use of his hands. He can't write a check, hold ski poles, or dress himself very easily, but he can ski and he can teach.

Wednesday afternoon, KHQ cameras followed Hackney as he gave a lesson to 10-year-old Ashlyn L'Kert atop Mt. Spokane.

"I think he really helped me learn how to turn better," L'Kert said after the lesson.

Hackney told KHQ he does sometimes have to make modifications; for instance, if a student needs to use poles, he'll grab another instructor who can model how to hold them. But, Hackney adds, he doesn't know how to quit, and nothing – not even ALS – will keep him from the slopes.

"We've already buried my younger brother, many years ago," he added. "And I don't want [my parents] to bury another child.  It's not going to happen."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • NEW INFORMATION: High Drive brush fire believed to be human caused

    NEW INFORMATION: High Drive brush fire believed to be human caused

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 1:58 PM EDT2014-07-30 17:58:17 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Tuesday evening the Spokane Fire department announced they had a likely cause for the High Drive brush fire: humans. The fire broke out Monday afternoon about 3pm on the west side of Spokane's South Hill between Qualchan Golf Course and High Drive. By 6pm it had grown to 30 acres and moved to within 75 yards of several homes on High Drive.>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Tuesday evening the Spokane Fire department announced they had a likely cause for the High Drive brush fire: humans. The fire broke out Monday afternoon about 3pm on the west side of Spokane's South Hill between Qualchan Golf Course and High Drive. By 6pm it had grown to 30 acres and moved to within 75 yards of several homes on High Drive.>>
  • PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    PHOTOS JUST IN: Devastation from Carlton Complex; 300 homes burned

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:07:59 GMT
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
    TWISP, Wash. (AP) - The Okanogan County Sheriff says the Carlton Complex wildfire has many more homes than previously thought. Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday that the Carlton Complex fire has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise.>>
  • WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: DNR tackling new wildfire near Tonasket

    WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: DNR tackling new wildfire near Tonasket

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:03 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:03:06 GMT
    TONASKET, Wash.- The Department of Natural Resources says they are battling a new wildfire northeast of Wauconda and Tonasket. The fire broke out on Tuesday, July 29th and is called the "Torado Mountain" wildfire. DNR crews are attacking this fire from the ground and air.
    >>
    TONASKET, Wash.- The Department of Natural Resources says they are battling a new wildfire northeast of Wauconda and Tonasket. The fire broke out on Tuesday, July 29th and is called the "Torado Mountain" wildfire. DNR crews are attacking this fire from the ground and air.
    >>
  • Top Stories from KHQTop StoriesMore>>

  • Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Manhunt in Peone Prairie for man believed to be armed

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:01 AM EDT2014-07-31 07:01:36 GMT
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane.. >>Details on manhunt inside>>
    SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash.- At 6pm Wednesday evening two people arrived at their home, in Peone Prairie, and found two men in the process of ransacking it. This happened at a home near East Moffat and North Forker Road, northeast of Spokane. >>Details on manhunt inside
    >>
  • Green Bluff grass fire: 3 buildings destroyed at Walker's Farm

    Green Bluff grass fire: 3 buildings destroyed at Walker's Farm

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:55 AM EDT2014-07-31 04:55:05 GMT
    GREEN BLUFF, Wash.- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a farm on Green Bluff was 100% contained by 6pm. The fire started on property owned by Walker's Farm. Fire crews were called out to the farm about 2:30pm.
    >>
    GREEN BLUFF, Wash.- A fire that broke out Wednesday afternoon at a farm on Green Bluff was 100% contained by 6pm. The fire started on property owned by Walker's Farm. Fire crews were called out to the farm about 2:30pm.

    >>
  • Q6 CARES: Air Conditioners and what you can do to help prevent them from breaking

    Q6 CARES: Air Conditioners and what you can do to help prevent them from breaking

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:01 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:01:06 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Before you crank up your air conditioner to its coolest setting, it's a good idea to make sure it's working properly. On Wednesday KHQ spoke with a maintenance tech, Justin Holyron, who works at RR Heating and Air Conditioning about some things you can check before calling in the experts. >>VIDEO INSIDE>>
    SPOKANE, Wash.- Before you crank up your air conditioner to its coolest setting, it's a good idea to make sure it's working properly. On Wednesday KHQ spoke with a maintenance tech, Justin Holyron, who works at RR Heating and Air Conditioning about some things you can check before calling in the experts. >>VIDEO INSIDE
    >>