Seeing With Trust: Para Alpine Skiing

Seeing With Trust: Para Alpine Skiing

Trust is not just a word; it is a feeling.

Though we recognize its presence (and sense its absence), trust is maddeningly difficult to define.  “Hope,” “reliance,” “confidence,” “support,” “dependence” and “faith” are a few of the words that dictionaries use to describe an individual’s feelings toward another person when trust is present.

In the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) sanctioned sport of Para Alpine Skiing, athletes who are partially or completely blind travel down a mountain at 60-plus miles-per-hour. Sighted guides ski in front of these visually impaired skiers at the same breakneck speed using Bluetooth headsets to help the athletes anticipate terrain and guide them through the moguls and flagged poles (gates) that are often part of competitive alpine skiing.

For this guide system to work, each party must develop a visceral and intuitive understanding of the other’s capabilities, thought processes and psychological tolerances. Guides and athletes spend countless hours together on and off the snow, developing a relationship that at its best is a sublime expression of trust.

This film explores that expression of trust.