Foresight News

Blind skiers conquer more than just slopes

November 11, 2009
Fox21 News by Christina Salvo

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- Chu Scott is thirteen. He was born visually impaired. Last spring he tried skiing for the first time. "Anything new you try is scary, but after I got used to it I kept trying and it went pretty well," commented Scott.

Scott is a student at The Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind. His opportunity to ski came as part of the ski program sponsored by non-profit Foresight Ski Guides.

For the last three years Foresight has sponsored blind students from the school for an all expenses paid three day ski trip to Vail. "There are so many sports they're told they can't do. This is one sport they really can do," said Randy Witte a Braille teacher at the school.

With many social and recreational opportunities often unavailable to those who are blind or visually impaired Foresight provides a safe environment to explore skiing and their physical capabilities. So it's no surprise that skiing is not the only thing students learn on the trip.

Describing the group of five students going on the next trip P.E. and science teacher Jan Megarry said "they like a challenge. They like to push themselves as far as they can and improve. They love learning."

When asked whether their character was a factor of age or circumstances Meggary said "I think there's a little extra there because they have a need to prove to themselves as well as others that they're just as capable as anybody else to perform these skills."

Both teachers said when students return from their trip there is a noticeable increase in the students' self confidence and self-esteem.

"It helps them become more willing to put forth that extra step and take that challenge that the majority of the time they maybe would not take because of a fear of failure. Now that fear of failure is set aside because they've experienced something and have been successful at it," explained Meggary.

It's an experience that Meggary believes easily will help prepare students for the life ahead of them. "It is more difficult for them as they grow up and into life to be able to find a job. It takes a lot more energy, a lot more effort, to get out there and find a job and find their place in life. So these guys with their challenges have to have a high self esteem, a high risk factor to get out there and try."

While skiing may teach Scott and his class mates important life skills, for him, right now, the most important thing is that it's fun. "It's thrilling. Skiing has opened new doors for me, I think I will enjoy it as one of my new sports." Without Foresight Scott said he would never have had such an experience.

Foresight also sponsors blind skiers of all ages including Iraqi War veterans who have lost their sight and former Paralympics athletes.

Foresight is always looking for volunteers.