CHAIRLIFT CHAT... Confessions from a Foresight adventure Guide - Greg Brozovich
Greg Brozovich, Senior Guide
Foresight Ski Guides' mission is to promote fitness, athletic skills, personal achievement, and self-esteem for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. This mission is woven into my methodology when guiding our participants in challenge recreation like skiing or snowboarding. Every VIP (visually impaired participant) is unique and focusing on their individual abilities rather than their limitations defines my approach to a safe and rewarding experience. As a Senior Guide for Foresight, I have 26 years’ experience guiding visually impaired skiers which includes time with the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) in Winter Park, CO in addition to Foresight Ski Guides.
My first experience guiding a blind person was in Steamboat. Peter is an attorney from Seattle and the boyfriend of my dear friend Anne. Peter lost his vision in a car accident on his high school graduation day. He had been an accomplished skier in his youth and learned to ski again after the accident, often guided by his brother. Peter was coming to Colorado for a long Thanksgiving weekend and Anne was excited to introduce the two of us. My first thought when Anne asked me to guide Peter was,
“Wow. How could I gracefully decline her request without getting into an uncomfortable predicament, especially while providing warm Colorado hospitality during Thanksgiving dinner?”
Despite being apprehensive and nervous, having no previous experience, and no clue how to make this a rewarding outing and safe for both Peter and me I decided to buck up and accept the challenge. Besides, Anne was confident in my abilities and I didn’t want to let her down.
Day one at Steamboat was trial by fire. Peter provided tips and pointers while we loaded the gondola and headed up the mountain. As we approached the mid-way point on Mount Werner, and our exit location, I knew there was no turning back now. There we were standing at 9,000 feet at the top of Valley View, a groomed, steep, expert run at the top of the gondola. Peter offered some last-minute advice. “Whatever you do, don’t fall! Ready, set, go!” And off he went. Quickly, and surprisingly, I witnessed how a blind person adapts to their environment, the variations in the terrain and the impact of the wind. I learned how to adapt my communication style to be most effective. After a few runs and some fine tuning of my turn calling, I was beginning to feel more comfortable about continuing to be his guide that weekend. I was hooked.
Greg and Peter, Seattle, WA - August 2, 1995
Guiding Peter was instantly a life changing experience. I was now interested in expanding my knowledge and acquiring the necessary skills to continue guiding individuals who are blind and visually impaired. I joined the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, CO as a volunteer ski guide and developed an affection for those on the “Sunday Blind Bus.” The Sunday Blind Bus brought children and adults with unique cognitive and physical limitations to Winter Park for a day of skiing.
Volunteering was a transformative experience for me. It continues to be a way for me to give back to the sport that has been a significant part of my life for nearly five decades. Volunteering enriches my life in so many positive ways. I am rewarded every time I meet, greet, and guide a VIP. Their unwavering enthusiasm and willingness to challenge themselves is what keeps my passion alive and what keeps me committed year after year.
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