Downhill Skiing

blind_ski

I love to downhill ski.   I grew up in Calgary forty five minutes from Banff and some of the best skiing in the world.     I learned to ski in Calgary at PaskaPoo renamed Canada Olympic Park for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.   Anyway when I was learning to ski we called it Poo Glacier as there was a lot of man made snow.  Which was more often than not, ice.

The public schools had an option where you could take ski lessons.  I joined right in.

There were methods for teaching blind skiers but I really wasn’t interested so it was mainstream for me.   Well it worked out well most of the time.  I’m not sure how they teach blind people to ski so don’t ask.

I was carried or carted off the hill only three times ever.  If I recall I think all of these incidents happened on or around a T-Bar lift.   I don’t attribute any of these incidents to my vision but to my skiing ability

Being blind does offer a few challenges when skiing.

Some people like to dress in white.    Most of the time or in deep summer I’d say go for it.  But being on a ski hill totally in white isn’t the smartest thing.   I ran over a lady skiing who was totally in white.   White skis boots poles clothes everything.   I didn’t even see her until I ran over her.   I felt so bad.  I stopped help pick herself up and went on my way.   I did check to see if she was injured she said she was fine.

Light is a big issue for me and lighting conditions are everything.   My dad had to buy me new goggles once because the light was so intense it felt like it was burning my eyes.   Worse I couldn’t see any of the moguls or obstacles on the mountain I had a miserable day.

I have had many experiences where dope I didn’t see that.    I’ve ended up airborne a number of times accidently.   Its “entertaining” when you’re suddenly in the air looking back down at the ground.   Your thoughts suddenly turn to hmmm how do I get down.  The realization being that getting down is certain.  Landing gracefully doubtful.  Landing uninjured in question.  Landing one way or another guaranteed.

I remember one particular ski trip with fondness.   It was a weekend trip to Kimberly, very good skiing.    A friend of mine and I skied some amazing runs.  He took me on some four black diamond runs that were amazing, I’ve never skied such advanced runs since.    My friend made the weekend very memorable and fun.

Kimberly has a tom of moguls.  I was skiing and crashed losing a ski.   I got up brushed off reattached my ski to my boot or so I thought then carried on.   I caught some air on another mogul and it was most alarming looking down and seeing my ski dropping away.   Needless to say I crashed again much to the delight of some folks on the chair lift who had witnessed both spills.

As an adult and after I had children I unfortunately haven’t kept up with skiing.   One of these days I’ll get back to it.   In the mean time there is a local group that takes blind people cross country skiing which could be fun.

Kyle Bergum

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

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