Praise the American Blind Skiing Foundation

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 12, 2009 9:14 am

Forgive my ignorance, but I was previously unaware of this group and am so happy to have heard of them now. I honestly would not have thought it possible for a blind person to ski. That’s what I get for being closed-minded. The American Blind Skiing Foundation works tirelessly to ensure that those who are legally or completely blind can still experience the joy of gliding down the powdery mountains. 

I bet you’re wondering what I was wondering: How does it work? Here’s some info from their website:

  • The blind skier meets a friendly ABSF instructor who reviews with the skier their visual acuity, medical history and other physical characteristics that would come into play while skiing.
  • The skier is made comfortable and then introduced to the ski equipment. They learn by touch all the parts of the skis and poles and are briefed on how they work
  • The skier learns to stand on the skis. Feeling the weight, balance and every nuance of the equipment. This is all done on a flat surface.
  • Once the skier is acclimated to the equipment and has a sense of balance, they learn to feel the edges and put pressure on or weight the ski (this will help them learn to turn the ski)
  • The skier is then introduced to the bunny hill. The ABSF instructor works tirelessly with the skier in this safe environment until the skier has a feel for edging, standing, stopping, getting up and initiating turns on the skis.
  • When the skier is comfortable, they venture onto the chairlift and are trained on how to load and unload with the instructor by their side
  • Once on the bigger hill, the skier continues to link turns, stop and practice all of the techniques introduced in the earlier sessions.
  • When these skills are mastered, the instructor will then lead the skier from the front or from behind. (this is determined by skill level, confidence and visual acuity) The instructor will use a combination of audio cues to lead the skier down the hill.
  • Repeat until it’s time for lunch or a break

The Foundation is located in Illinois and could use your generous contribution. Check out their website here. It’s awesome to see groups like these out there!