By Robin Alberti
A group of blind and visually impaired skiers is guided along a lower slope at Pico.
KILLINGTON — A large contingent of blind and visually impaired skiers will be attending the 9th Annual United States Association of Blind Athletes Winter Festival with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports this weekend, Feb. 6-7, at Pico Mountain and Mountain Meadows.
It is the largest gathering in the nation with 30 blind and visually impaired athletes from across the country coming to learn to ski or learn to race with Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. More than 100 people will be in attendance for the weekend, including volunteer instructors, participants, family members, and friends. Organizers say it will be the largest-ever United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) winter ski festival.
Participants will Alpine ski and take part in a laser rifle demo and Pico Mountain and at Mountain Meadows Cross Country Ski center they will Nordic ski, snowshoe and take part in a laser rifle demo. The Vermont Adaptive’s auditory rifle system is the same system used for competition in Nordic Combined in the Paralympics.
For nearly a decade, USABA and Vermont Adaptive have worked together to coordinate an event where Americans who are blind and visually impaired can participate in Alpine skiing, snowboarding and Nordic skiing.