**This blog post is largely excerpted from last week’s entry at NMO Diaries.

If you read last week’s blog post on what to cook/eat on a ski trip, or if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you would’ve known I was in Breckenridge, Colorado, two weekends ago to work on my snowboarding skills. And yes, the blind can snowboard.

The hubs picked up snowboarding after he went on his first trip for his bachelor party five years ago. He was subsequently bitten by the boarding bug, and I’d since gifted him a nice board, and he goes at least once a season. Because I don’t believe in limiting myself with my vision loss, I decided to try my own hand (feet?) at snowboarding, if only to have a common enjoyable pastime with the hubs.

My friends had told me they’d seen vision impaired skiers and boarders on the slopes, so after a little online research, I found the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, a wonderful facility providing highly trained guides and instructors in all forms of outdoor recreation from rafting to—you got it—skiing/snowboarding. When I first called the BOEC during the 2010-11 season, they had suggested I try skiing with the reason being skiing is often easier to learn than snowboarding. Skiing, however, turned out to be disastrous for me (I blogged about my skiing experience with the BOEC), and I figured out later the reason I’d gotten so much motion sickness was because on skis, you’re elevated so much higher off the ground; I could not feel the earth beneath my feet and thus felt disoriented like I was hurling through space with no idea of where was up and which way was down. With snowboarding, your feet are closer to the snow, and so I felt much more grounded and thereby less nauseous.

This past trip was my third time snowboarding in four seasons (I had to skip last season due to scheduling conflicts), and I’m happy to say I did not regress in skill. I am able to board down the easy green run at Breckenridge’s Peak 9 (I think it’s the Silverthorne run, for those of you who are familiar with Breck) with one- to two-handed assistance and verbal cues (as pictured above). They say next time, I’ll be ready to advance up to the blues and work on completely independent boarding—woohoo! That’s my goal: to board independently down greens and easy blues with verbal cues within two more seasons.

While so many people applaud my courage (and yes, I admit it takes a certain amount of guts to strap yourself on to a board atop a snowy mountain without vision), I must attribute a majority of my success to the folks at the BOEC. They are trained to assist people of all abilities (i.e. Those with vision loss, paraplegia, quadriplegia, Neuromyelitis Optica/NMO, Multiple Sclerosis/MS, etc.) so that all may enjoy outdoor sports and beautiful Colorado. And if you’re headed to other ski destinations outside of Breckenridge, be sure to look into their respective outdoor education centers. There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment to boost your self-esteem and confidence. If I can do it, you can too. Stay warm, be safe, play hard.

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12 Discussion to this post

  1. Cricket world cup says:

    I love this article.. Thanks for sharing

  2. Snowboarders Daily says:

    This is a wonderful and amazing topic!

  3. Amy says:

    Great Post! Thanks!

  4. nalhcal says:

    Awesome, what a good program.

  5. Ryan Graham says:

    This is inspiring. I have my business working on new and fun ways to do extreme sports and its mostly for getting fit and having fun at the same time but then your advocacy really is something of greater importance. I salute you for doing that project. It really is an inspiration. We all should really be grateful for the gifts we have and be able to find ways to share those gifts to others as well. More power to this! it's awesome

  6. Faisal says:

    Good job

  7. Debra_Price says:

    Even though a kid is blind but they too possess the rights to enjoy everything that any ordinary child does. Ski and Snow boarding are little difficult, in fact much difficult for blind Kid but hats off that these kids have proven it wrong. I appreciate the efforts of this Adaptive Ski & Ride School that helping these unfortunate kids to feel all the colors of life.

  8. cricket says:

    tough one but nice

  9. Whoa! This is impressive. I leaned back in my chair a bit and was just sitting here pondering everything you said. Really cool.

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