Many people who are blind or have low vision can and do enjoy skiing, with some planning for adaptations as well as guidelines for both downhill and cross-country versions of the sport. Skiers who are blind or have low vision generally utilize the services of a guide to orient them. “The sighted guide leads the visually impaired skier through the slopes, providing information about turns, speed control, and terrain changes. This collaborative approach ensures the visually impaired skier can navigate the slopes safely and enjoyably.” Following are some pointers from the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community, adaptive sports professionals, and other sources:
– Beginners or those returning to action after vision loss can benefit from enrolling in a “learn to ski” clinic.
– Lenses or goggles, which can be tinted, can be worn to reduce glare.
– A GPS device can map the trail, with specific navigational directions.
– Wearing a brightly colored bib helps to identify the blind skier.
It is also a good idea to check with the resort ahead of time to learn about programs offered that are relevant to blind skiers. For additional tips and information, read the APH (American Printing House for the Blind) ConnectCenter article on Skiing for People Who Are Blind or Low Vision. This source also provides a list of organizations that are resources for adapted skiing. More suggestions are offered from the Fun Outdoors webpage on Adaptive Skiing: All You Need to Know for the 2024 Season and in an article in The New York Times on How to Ski Blind. The Rocky Mountain Division of PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) provides a Guide for Teaching Students with Vision-Related Diagnoses with advice for guides working with blind skiers. For a first-hand account of how the sport works, read the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) webpage entitled Skiing Blind.