20 December 2019

Author: Timotej Skledar

Not many people can imagine how the blind can ski. So I decided that now that winter joys are coming, I would write an article about my first skiing experience as a blind person.

Are you wondering how my skiing looks like? The father or a friend skis behind me, directing me and alerting me against hazards or obstacles via FM radio. The basic equipment is of course skis, ski boots, ski poles and helmet, but I also need a reflective vest and a spine guard, that we call turtle. My reflective vest is yellow and has the inscription "Blind skier" written in three languages: Slovenian, English and German, as I ski abroad. It was made to order. With a reflective vest, you let other skiers know about your defect and they are therefore more careful when approaching you on the trail.

Readers of my blog on Feelif's website know that I was blinded only 3 years ago. As a big fan of sports, nature, snow and mountains, I already started skiing during my first winter as a blind person. Like every winter until then, my family and I went skiing for a week to a small ski resort in Austria. We arrived at the ski resort on Saturday and at first I doubted I could go down the snowy slopes. But by Monday my desire for skiing was so great that I simply had to try and put away the fear. When I put on my skiing equipment and headed for the ski lift, I forgot all the fears after the descent into the valley. At the top of the hill, my dad and I checked the connection between the VHF devices and carefully descended the slope. I felt an adrenalin rush and screamed with joy while skiing, other skiers probably thought I was a little crazy, but I didn't care. With each ride, I became more confident and more relaxed. Because of this, I also started to ski faster, which led to my father disappearing from the horizon, at which point he told me to stop and wait for him. Many people doubted that I would still be able to ski, but I proved to them that with modern technology, the will and excellent skiing skills (I first skied at age 5) I could still ski despite my blindness.

As readers, you are probably interested in what skiing means to me and why, as, like some people say, I put myself at risk. Skiing, after being blinded, brings me the greatest freedom. When I ski and turn here and there at high speed, I am overwhelmed by pleasure and adrenaline. When I'm on my skis I also clear my mind and forget about everyday problems.