by: Nerissa Cannon

One of the original GRIT Freedom Chair Trailblazers ambassadors, Nerissa has worked also worked and written for GRIT! Her own journey with chronic illness has made her very passionate about helping other people get the most out of life with a disabling condition.

The great thing about the outdoors is that no matter what time of the year it is, there is always something to do. Sometimes you have to adapt to the weather or the temperature in order to properly enjoy things, though. Luckily, my GRIT Freedom Chair is a versatile, all-terrain wheelchair. It allows me to enjoy all types of activities no matter what the seasons throw at me.


GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season spring March: Nerissa rides on paved outdoor trail on hill with service dog in GRIT Freedom Chair


Where I live tends to have a lot of late-season snow, so off-roading conditions aren’t exactly favorable. To stay fit and active, I take to the pavement! I easily roll over winter-damaged sections. I also make sure to incorporate hills into my routine and the GRIT Freedom Chair’s design helps me maintain my forward momentum as I move up the inclines.

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season spring April: Nerissa in GRIT Freedom Chair holds a stick her service dog jumps for on grass field


Once the snow fully melts, grass becomes lush and parks are difficult to resist. With the temperature still very pleasant—even in direct sun—I love spending lazy afternoons walking my dog in the park. Whether I’m just laying around reading a book or playing with random sticks, my GRIT Freedom Chair allows us to get off the pavement and go wherever we please.

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season spring May: Nerissa in GRIT Freedom Chair looks up to tall trees with service dog on rough path


Conditions will now allow me to move up into higher elevations to explore. However, the spring melt makes the ground quite soft, and even downright muddy. Luckily, my GRIT Freedom Chair not only keeps my hands clean over this mucky terrain, but it allows me the ability to power through it.


GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season summer June: Nerissa in GRIT Freedom Chair smiles at outdoor race with service dog and other person


There is always a race to run in June! I truly enjoy wheelchair racing in my GRIT Freedom Chair. I certainly end up having the advantage on the downhill, but even on the uphill the lever design allows me to keep up my momentum and I end up passing lots of other participants. I’m often the only wheelchair and turn heads while I’m racing.

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season summer July: Nerissa looks at rainbow over hills and field


Monsoon season has yet to best the GRIT Freedom Chair! I’m able to stay much safer since I don’t have to worry about my hands gripping onto wet wheels as I maneuver around. After the storm passes, I’m able to power through any mud I come across without even looking down at the ground. This leaves my eyes free to scout for any rainbows that may suddenly appear.

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season summer August: Nerissa pushes levers riding GRIT Freedom Chair in inches of water at beach shore


Being the middle of summer, August is the best time of the year to hit the water! Whether it’s the beach or the lake, the GRIT Freedom Chair allows me to independently power through soft conditions, right down to where the action is. It feels so freeing to move around in the water in my GRIT Freedom Chair!


GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season fall September: Nerissa hiking on rocky trail with dog and other person close behind


It may be cliché, but fall is my favorite season! The temps are cooler, but conditions for outdoor activities are ideal. The Aspen trees are only briefly at the height of their color, so I make sure not to miss out. I take my GRIT Freedom Chair up into the mountains to not only see the colors, but to become immersed in them.

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season fall October: Nerissa riding off road on long grass and dirt hill


October seems to be the muddiest season in the mountains. There is increased precipitation, but cooler days, so the ground stays moist as it prepares to accept the snow that will shortly come. This combination often means trails are deeply rutted, but I enjoy getting off road with the GRIT Freedom Chair and splashing around in all the mud!

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season fall November: Nerissa smiling and doing a wheelie on small stack of rocks on rocky dirt trail


“Second summer” typically hits my area in November. A last burst of warmth dries out the trails covered in dead vegetation from the previous weeks. This is my favorite time of year for getting off the main trails and crawling over rocks and boulders!


GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season winter December: Nerissa smiling in fresh snowfall


The first snowfalls of the winter season are often the most magical. However, even getting around town in those conditions can be downright impossible without the right equipment. With the GRIT Freedom Chair, I have no issues getting through not-yet-plowed sidewalks, snowy pileups in the curb cuts, slushy puddles, and icy pathways. I can do all of that, keep my hands dry, and still keep a smile on my face!

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season winter January: Nerissa at Zion National Park on dirt and snow-covered trail with service dog


Sometimes National Parks are better in the off season! The temperatures are cooler and the crowds are dramatically smaller. My partner and I visited Zion National Park in January. Wheelchair hiking a section of the Court of the Patriarchs was challenging but fun. The harsh and limited sun the canyons get this time of year makes for some interesting trail conditions, but the GRIT Freedom Chair was trustworthy where we chose to take it.

GRIT all terrain wheelchair every season winter February: Nerissa in ski gear in GRIT Freedom Chair on snow area


Prior to my illness, skiing was one of my biggest passions. It made me feel more alive and free than just about anything else. It was such a relief to finally learn how to ski again! My GRIT Freedom Chair made the experience even better. It allowed me to safely get around the cobblestones of the resort. It also easily rolled through the snow at the base so I could transfer into my monoski rig. My instructor was envious of my effortless mobility!

Updated August 31, 2021; originally posted March 18, 2018