Visually Impaired Teens Overcome Barriers on the Ski Slopes

On a cool January morning, four visually impaired teens took to the ski slopes at Mount Crescent. This event was about more than just having fun. It was about growing confidence and showing these teens and everyone else that anything is possible with the right tools and support.

The teens all had varying levels of vision and experiences. They spent a portion of the morning learning skiing basics – how to balance, how to stop, and how to turn. They were also able to touch the skis and chair lift before heading out with a guide.

The guides, who skied in front of each participant, had the opportunity to ski without sight before this event.

By her second run, Molly Troxel was all smiles as she glided down the slope behind her guide. “It was so much fun, and I want to do it again,” she said. “I was really good at skiing, and I had a great teacher! It was an awesome experience”.”

Laura Troxel, Molly’s mother, watched her daughter glide down the slope, her confidence growing with every turn. “Molly was given an opportunity that she would not have otherwise experienced because our family does not ski,” she said. “She had so much fun and had really awesome volunteers and instructors to help her succeed. She can’t wait to go again.”

Once a month, ONI offers a recreational adventure for young people between the ages of 12 and 19 with visual impairment. Under the leadership of adaptive sports specialists, each participant is paired with a volunteer to ensure they have all the support and guidance needed to safely explore a new adventure. Our goal is to expose visually impaired teens to recreational activities adapted to overcome any barriers they face, build their confidence and provide a fun social atmosphere with peers who understand visual challenges.

“These monthly recreational opportunities give our teens an opportunity to be like everyone else in the group rather than the one who is different because of their vision limitations,” Lisa Kelly, Director of Enrichment Programs, said. “When they are together they build friendships with others who are experiencing and overcoming challenges they may have thought no one else understood.” “The best part by far is the laughter we share. In the end the lack of vision is all but forgotten and the accomplishment shines through.”

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