Last night I had the pleasure of working with a customer at Perfect North Slopes (I’ve been on the Ski Patrol there for over 25 years). Normally, working with a customer means treating injuries, but this time was different. Paul approached me for some help making a video. Paul is a guide, and he was there with his exchange student, Ozzie, a young man from Turkey who is blind. Ozzie had never experienced snow before coming to the US, and had certainly never skied before. Paul wanted me for follow behind them and create a video of Ozzie skiing down Far Side, our longest trail (about a mile).
Not the first time I’ve been asked this on my tenure with the Ski Patrol, but this time it was very different. Ozzie is completely blind. Paul spent this ski season teaching Ozzie to ski, and Ozzie follows Paul down the hill listening to the sound of Paul clicking his poles together behind him. Ozzie isn’t tethered, he’s just skiing. At one point in the video, you can see Ozzie get ahead of Paul, so Paul simply banged his poles louder, Ozzie slowed down since the sound was behind him, and then they continued skiing down the hill.
Here is the video from my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3U8dEcQyKtg
Next time I start to say “I can’t”, I’m going to think of Ozzie, and realize what I really mean is “I won’t try”. It wasn’t that Ozzie was a phenomenal skier. It’s that he can’t see, yet he didn’t let that stop him from skiing. And in three short months!