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Blind Skiiers

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Has anyone ever had a run-in with a blind skiier? My only encounter with one was at Holiday Valley this past march. A was skiing down one of the blacks and this guy just flew past me. When I saw the blind skiier notice on the back of his shirt I was truly amazed. Blind skiiers have such passion for the sport it is absolutely amazing. Has anyone else seen a blind skiier on the slopes or does anyone personally know one?
post #2 of 13
Portillo attracts quite a few adaptive skiers, some blind, most paraplegic.

I've never seen a blind one really rip, but I did see this amazing woman without the use of her legs skiing chopped up moguls with style on her specialized monoski. I wasn't even capable of skiing where she was on 2 good legs.
post #3 of 13
I've taught blind students at my home area, and they are a trip. They are out there and having so much fun, it really makes you realize how easy it is to take what we have for granted. And you are right, they truly epitomize passion for skiing. Ever tried making 4-6 turns with your eyes closed? Its hard, and look at the tracks, you feel like you made perfectly rounded turns, and symetrically too, but in fact they are typically anything but.
post #4 of 13
I've seen a couple of blind skiers at Copper, and like xdog, I've seen ripping skiers with one leg at Loveland, Copper, Keystone, and Winter Park. Definitely puts things in perspective, especially if you're feeling smug about that last run.
post #5 of 13
Here in Park City we have the National Ability Center. They work with with people with all sorts of mobility issues. Blind skiers, skiers with missing limbs or in wheel chairs. you name it if it can be done then they find a way to get people on the mountain. It is vary inspireing to see these athletes on the mountain.
post #6 of 13
Hi, first time threader here. Glad I found a subject I can get my teeth into. Fortunate enough to have once worked alongside visually impaired skiers as a Guide. , take my word for it, it's a rewarding experience! I know it sounds obvious, but the guides job is to take on the role of the skiers eyes. Constant Radio contact is imperative.. If radio contact ceases for 3 seconds, the visually impaired skier will automatically stop unconditionally! The skier will resume only when radio contact is resumed.
As a Guide, I will be talking to the skier all the time.. I will be steering the skier left, right, straight ahead & stop!. I must not pause in those instructions for more than 3 seconds, otherwise the skier will stop. All the time I will be describing the skier's surroundings, other skiers near and around us, the nature of the ski terrain, changing ski terrain, snow conditions and the competency of ski runs, possible obstacles..and of course, mountain huts! According to the skiers level of competency, he/she has a choice, whether to ski behind me, in front of me or alongside of me. Whatever, the biggest buzz for the guide is when they finally manages to achieve choreographic skiing down the mountain..
post #7 of 13
Hey, Columbo, welcome aboard, and I'm glad that I'm not the only one that has done some instruction/guiding with the visually impaired. It really is a truly rewarding experience. One time that always makes me smile when I think back was skiing with this kid Mike, a good skier (totally blind) who preferred to use bamboo poles and ski side by side. Well, unfortunately, we hit some ice, got and Mike got spun around and he lost his grip on the bamboo. Well, he started skiing backwards, and I was yelling for him to sit down, fall to the side, anything I could think of, but he just wouldn't listen, so I yell at the top of my lungs TREE!!!!!!!!, and he dropped like a rock. When I got down to him, he had the biggest grin in the world, and said "There wasn't a tree was there?" I couldn't lie and told him no, he laughed and asked why I said there was, and when I told him because he wouldn't stop or fall I had to, which made him laugh even harder.

At the end of the lesson he admitted, the reason he wouldn't listen is felt like he was having so much fun, and completly free (he now truly understood why people ski). So from then on, in further lessons, we started exploring with verbal guiding and occasionally, in a wide open spot I'd let him try to "see" his own way, knowing that if he was close to danger he had to listen to me.

It was by far one of the most rewarding experinces as an instructor, and for Mike, I think it made skiing worth all the hardships he had gone though worth it.

I just wish more people would take advantage of opportunities to work with the disabled on snow, as you really feel like you're helping someone, and the rewards are so worth it, but nothing can beat the students face when they truly feel free.
post #8 of 13
One of if the the best day on skis last season was when I was asked to be a guide for a blind skier. I have skied with a blind skier before but not as a guide. I was just another skier in a clinic. That blind skier was skiing double diamonds at Sugarbush. I was amazed then.
But this time there was just three of us.I was asked to ski on one side and keep him from getting to close to the edge. The lead person skied on the other side. This blind skier could see dark showdows. So he was allowed to ski with a little more freedom. On some of the wider runs at Okemo we would stop and he would ask "can I go first". She would point him down the hill and tell him it was clear for X number of blocks, he was from NYC. When he was skiing there we would stay to the side just incase he got to close to the edge. I still smile when I think of that day.

I hope that when he comes back this season I get to ski with him again. He was a amazing man, so full of life and happiness.
post #9 of 13
Every year I spend about 4 weeks with kids that some to my resort from MD school of the blind. It's great. We have about 12 kids every week and a ton of helpers from the high schools. To add the difficulties, and the rewards, most of these kids have other problems, they have ms, are deaf, and just about anything else you can imagine. When we have these kids skiing it's a blast, you develop a very close friendship with them that sticks forever. They remember you year after year, and amazingly come to trust you as soon as you introduce yourself. I find that the rewards are much greater teaching "challenged" (I use this term loosly) students than every day students. I wouldn't give it up for the world.
post #10 of 13
I was watching this show, and i saw this guy heli-skiing with one leg!

truly amazing!
post #11 of 13

and the dog too

My friends parents are both blind and skied 30 yrs.ago.They just got a blind dog and we are planning on putting him on snow this year. Mt. Tom in holyoke Mass. is the first place i've ever saw one 34 yrs ago.We will put anyone or anything on skis in New England. Good Luck ,Good topic
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by east_skiier04
Has anyone ever had a run-in with a blind skiier? My only encounter with one was at Holiday Valley this past march. A was skiing down one of the blacks and this guy just flew past me.
I hear ya. I think it's appalling how those blind guys speed past people. I don't care if they think they're skilled, it's no excuse for scaring other less experienced people on the slopes. And then the patrol gives them a free pass for such reckless behavior just because they're blind. Maybe I should get a sign, then I could rip down slopes, like that fool that blew past you, with no risk of reprimand. Something has to be done about this.
post #13 of 13
Manus, I hear you. I've been doing adaptive coaching for many years now and I'm in love with it.

Remember, there are only two types of Guides, those that have put their students into the woods and those that going to put them there!

Always, always, always have an emergency word that your student will respond to and hit the deck. I like to use GET DOWN, GET DOWN! I don't use them in combination in normal speech often thus they won't get confused. When I yell it twice in rapid succession it gets the job done.

A friend of mine had an individual out who had recently lost his sight. The guy had been an expert skiier before and this was one of his first time back on skis. When they got to a wide open space with few skiiers on it, she let him do about 10 turns on his own without callin them. She just made sure he wouldn't get in trouble. When he stopped he was in tears. He never thought he'd ever be able to ski "on his own" again. The fact that he was and could, just overwhelmed him.
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