BEND, Ore. - Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a day without sight. Now imagine a day skiing downhill with a guide shouting out loud but gentle commands to help steer you down the hill.
On Wednesday, March 15th, Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS) will be holding its ninth annual ski day for Central Oregon students who are blind or have visual impairments (VI) at Mt. Bachelor. Students participating have a diverse range of vision abilities, and the ski day is all about having a safe, fun day where vision impairments are not an obstacle.
The partnership between OAS and the High Desert Educational Service District allows approximately 10 students throughout the area as far as La Pine, and as young as seven years old, to ski and snowboard with OAS guides.
Each year OAS guides spend time prepping in advance for this day and have a tool belt full of tiny tricks such as running fingers over the bindings, describing how skiing ought to feel, how to verbalize commands, communicate obstacles ahead, and more. In addition guides may also use other appropriate techniques such as tethers or bamboo poles to help provide guidance where needed.
All this preparation by OAS guides helps students find their inner skier or rider, overcome the obstacles of a vision impairment, and have a successful school day outside on the snow.
For more information about the VI Ski Day and OAS, please contact Oregon Adaptive Sports at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 541-306-4774.