Originally Posted by whtmt
Hi Cassina: Great job for your first time giving it a try. A couple of thoughts to remember. First, is your friend a couch potato or is she an active and or athletic person. The question of how vision impared is she and for how long will direct you as to what to expect. Does she ski with a buddy or just go with instructors a couple of time a season? Knowing your student's background is very important especially when skiing with a disabled person.
You become the senses that the person has lost. So, the person's safety is foremost in all that you do together. So when you start out you need to know her fears, as well as her strengths. When you were in the lodge did you watch her move around by herself?, use a guide dog, or use the buddy system? That will tell you alot about what might happen on the hill.
Before you put on skis, did you review the type of communication you would use with her? If she has skied for a few seasons then she may have some types of verbal communication she's comfortable with (ie-commands). For instance, the agreed commands that will be used on the hill will be very important to set up before you go out there with lots of noise. How do you tell her to turn right or left or straight, or stop, and or STOPPPP!!!!., in an emergency?
Skiing with a vision impaired person means you are wearing three hats. The first is her guide and buddy; next is her instructor; and finally you're her personal ski patrol friend. So, first build confidence in the lodge then proceed to the slope. Be sure you're up to date on what she already knows and has comfort with before moving on to the next level of activity. Don't move off green terrain until she and you are totally safe and control turning in each direction, speed control, and stop on command. Until those points are reached it's too soon for more advanced terrain and skiing activities. You must set a good foundation or you're an accident waiting to happen.
After all that, now you're ready to move up the hill, still moving safely and controlled in all that you do with her. Basic guiding might sound something like this: At the start, "And forward, hold, hold, hold, and right turn, hold, hold, hold, and left turn, hold, hold, hold, and stop." No inflection, no nervous exciteable voice tones, just confident mono-tone only. This type of communication creates confidence and support. Few words are very important her, as they tend not to confuse the skier, who has to follow your every word and sort them out among snow guns, traffic, ice noise, etc. One last word of caution, before ever using any additional equipment with any skier adaptive or not. Understanding its proper use is a very critical safety issue as some other instructors here have mentioned. Finally, if adaptive ski teaching is of interest to you, be sure to get into a training program where you can be taught properly. You will find lots to do and a whole new world will open up to you.
Two suggestions: First go to the PSIA web site and search under Adaptive. PSIA has many great articles, books, and training manuals available to both coaches and the non-member public. It's a challenge, but alot of fun.
PS: I'm a former Eastern Adaptive Examiner, currently a Level III Alpine and Level III Adaptive coach. Best of luck.
whtmt & Mackenzie 911
I had a chat to the instructor today with respect to the fact that of the 2
blind skiers I had helped only one knew how to side slip and in the situation that I required him to side slip it came about as a result of him
skiing off course on to a black run and I was able to get him to side slip
down. As for the other blind skier she had not been taught how to side slip and the instructor told me that side slipping is not taught to beginners today. Is this correct as I was taught side slipping on my very first day
prior to being allowed on the lift