“Free as a Bird” – Learning to Ski at 60 with WAS Student and Veteran Ed Riding

By Ed, WAS Student and Veteran

11 years ago, being legally blind and 60 years old, I put on my first pair of skis and was introduced to skiing at the Veteran’s Winter Sports Clinic. My instructor made skiing so much fun, I had to come back to Salt Lake and find someone to teach me how to ski. After many conversations someone told me about Wasatch Adaptive Sports. I was given the name and number of a friend who taught at WAS. he told me he no longer worked at WAS but gave me the main phone number. I was able to make contact and I started skiing the next winter. I was a true novice just barely being able to stand up on two skis. With the help of the many great instructors, I continued to progress. Slow at times, I felt like I was torturing my instructors at times because of my failure to do things right. They were very patient with me and finally got me to do things right. At other times my progress was very fast. 

Five years ago I was introduced to radios to ski with. The radios acted like prosthetic or artificial eyes for me. I could now see the mountain and the individual runs through someone else’s eyes. They could describe the runs to me and could tell me if there were any obstacles or dangerous situations. They could also remind me of things I was doing wrong and help me become a better skier. It made me feel like I was as free as a bird.

Now 11 years later, I am able to ski almost everything that is groomed. This positive result is because of the great WAS instructors. They helped push my limits and helped to encourage me to get better and better. This has changed my life drastically. I rarely have winter depression and I have met many great friends on the mountain. I owe great thanks to all the wonderful instructors of WAS. They coddled me, coached me, and pushed me to greater heights. Thank you one and all. 

Ed Riding