How the visually impaired learn how to ski

Published: Jan. 24, 2018 at 8:14 PM MST
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When you're blind, you go about learning new skills a little differently than sighted people.

Black Hills FOX Reporter Katrina Lim shows us how visually impaired individuals learned how to ski up at Terry Peak Ski Area.

For the 39th year in a row, Ski for Light was helping people with physical disabilities learn how to ski.

Blindness comes in varying degrees of vision loss, and in Karmela Buzdon's case, she says she sees shadows and things in her peripheral vision, but not the center.

Karmela Buzdon says, "Well back in the day I was able to see and now I don't have very much vision. It's just exhilarating to move and travel and to feel the wind and the slopes with not being able to see."

When teaching a blind person how to ski, Ray Bubb says instructors, or guides, rely on the senses of touch and hearing more.

Ski for Light Board Member Ray Bubb says, "There's a lot more touching and feeling to get them to understand. You have to explain, let them feel the skis and the edges on the equipment. Explain to them how that works. And you might actually have to use your hands to push in front of their boot. Put your hand in there so they know what you mean when you say put your shin the front of your boot."

And Buzdon had nothing but high praises for her guide Andraya Reichel.

Karmela Buzdon says, "I don't see any visual cues to know what's around me and all day long Andraya was describing every single thing. Every single obstacle. Every single transition. Like a magic carpet. What's around us. And it's keep because you're (Andraya) my eyes."

A couple of guides strapped me into a bi-ski and took me up the mountain.

And we flew.