You don’t fear what you don’t see.

That’s my motto when it comes to why I decided to pick up snowboarding after I lost my vision.

I snowboarded for the first time five years ago and have gone on an average of one trip (2 days each) per season. I skipped last season, so when we booked this trip to Whistler, I was nervous. I felt like the new kid in school: new mountain (I’d only been to Breckenridge), new instructors, and I hadn’t been on a board in two years.

Surprisingly, though, it really was like riding a bicycle. I went down the bunny slopes a few times so my instructor, Tom, could assess my skill level. The bunny slope also helped me reacquaint myself with being on the board and build confidence.

Before lunch on my first day, I was already boarding midway down a green run. And by the second day, I was boarding from the top of the peak down the green with a few small stints of blue here and there. I surprised even myself at how easily I advanced at snowboarding this time. It was the first trip where I could say a lot of it came naturally—I didn’t have to concentrate so much on the technicality of boarding, and instead, I just followed Tom’s guidance and felt the snowy slopes underneath my feet. (I do, however, believe a large part of the ease had to do with the altitude–Whistler is only about 2,000 feet above sea level, whereas Breckenridge is a painful 9,600.)

Adaptive ski and snowboard programs are available at most ski resorts throughout the North American continent. I highly advise if you are curious and adventurous, check out skiing or snowboarding by booking a lesson. I’ve only been able to get to where I am today with snowboarding through the guidance and instruction of these incredibly well-trained guides and teachers at both Breckenridge Outdoor Educational Center and Whistler Blackcomb Adaptive Ski Program.

It really goes to show that with the right attitude, determination, and support, you can achieve anything…including sliding down a mountain with your feet strapped to a board!


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