Blind Skiing

I see myself – inaccurate as it may be – as energetic for my age. I see myself – inaccurate as it may be – as pretty competent. Therefore I was a little offended when someone asked me if I ‘used to’ ski. Used to???? Really! I ski. Present tense.

I get to go tomorrow. I may slink home with my head down but I am going back to the slopes. My husband cannot ski anymore but he is going to take me and go do other things in the area. I am going to try my hand – or my feet, legs, etc. – at skiing once again.

Although where we are going does not have a blind ski program, there are several in the Poconos, that range of non-mountains in eastern Pennsylvania. There are adaptive ski programs at Camelback, Jack Frost, and Blue Mountain, all places I have skied. Although they are reported to all deal with pretty much all disabilities, ‘Blue’ advertises as specializing in visual impairment and developmental disabilities. Don’t know for sure. Haven’t been there since my vision went to crap.

There are a large number of postings about blind skiing on YouTube. These people are BLIND and absolutely hurling down the slopes! They trust their guides and their skills, knowledge of their sport and the mountain as well as their senses of their own bodies in space, to get them down safely. I really liked First Person: Blind Skier’s Quest for Gold. She questions why she spent time worrying and being depressed when the freedom of the slopes was there for her all along.

I am not that adventurous. If all I could see were shapes no more than a yard in front of me, I would not be speeding down a mountain. But it makes me feel like a bit of a wuss to know they are doing that when I worry about how I am going to ski with a blur in the center of my field.

There is the American Blind Skiing Foundation that appears to be based in Wisconsin (love those cheeseheads!) and also the International Blind Sports Foundation. They appear to be based in Germany. However, if you go online you will discover there are adaptive ski programs pretty much everywhere known for skiing and riding. Which reminds me: they also have blind snowboarding. Cool.

If you have a significant disability, have never skied, etc. be sure to call ahead. Most places require you to have reservations. Trained guides need to be available.

Oh, and another point, do not forget your glare glasses. It gets bright out there.

There you have it. Update on my latest adventure later. Hope not to run into you on the slopes!

Next: “You Don’t Look Blind!”

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