Skier’s solution spooks some onlookers |

Skier’s solution spooks some onlookers

Compiled by Allen R. Smith

One morning on a particularly busy weekend, the ski school was short of instructors trained to teach people with physical disabilities. So, the ski school director asked me if I wouldn’t mind teaching a blind student.He was already a fairly competent skier, but obviously needed to ski with an instructor. So, I agreed to teach the student.I had never taught anyone with physical disabilities and certainly never a blind skier. After explaining my lack of training, the student pleasantly agreed that we should still proceed with the lesson.He explained to me some of the basic verbal commands he used to cue varying degrees of turning to the right and left.We were getting along nicely when it started to snow. He wasn’t wearing goggles or sunglasses, so when the snow hit his face, it stung his eyes. He tried squinting and looking to the side, but ultimately solved the problem by pulling his knit hat all the way down to his chin.It was a bit awkward speaking to someone whose face was completely covered by a knit hat, but it did the job.In those days, they didn’t use “Blind Skier” bibs, so sightless skiers looked like everyone else. And, because I could not use all of the usual visual cues, I found that a combination of verbal commands, while physically moving his legs, shoulders and hands seemed to work best.After spending time on the lower slopes we decided to take the lift up to higher terrain. When we arrived at the top, we slid off and came to a stop.In front of a horrified crowd of on-lookers, I stood in front of my hooded student and grabbed his shoulders. I began pushing them to the left and right while yelling instructions to his hooded face.One of the women in the crowd muttered in disgust, “Did anyone get the name of that instructor? Someone should report him for beating up his student.”- Stu Hutchinson, Lake Elsinore, Calif.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism