Outdoor Storytellers – Skiing Blind

SANDPOINT, ID — Imagine you’re skiing. Now close your eyes – you’re totally blind – and remember, you’re still skiing.

“It was one of the first things after I lost my vision that I really, really didn’t want to give up,” Brit Elgar says. “I didn’t want to quit skiing because I’ve been skiing since I was three years old. I really love skiing. I didn’t want to give it up.”

Brit became blind five years ago when her optical nerves began to atrophy. And, although her eyes no longer work on the slopes, the rest of her body functions just fine.

“It’s easy for me,” she says. “All the responsibility is gone from me and I just have to pay attention to Steve’s voice and enjoy skiing.”

The Steve she’s referring to is her husband of 16 years.

“Brit has to trust me totally,” Steve notes. “She’s going fast. There could be obstacles and she trusts that I’m not going to guide her into one. You’re going to have to ask Brit, but I think she just relaxes and trusts me.”

“He means everything to me,” Brit confesses. “I can’t even imagine if Steve disappeared. I am completely dependant on him.”

Dependant on Steve because, without him, she’d have no one to guide her.

“I give her a voice to echo-locate on. She can’t see me but she can hear my voice.”

That’s how it works for Brit and Steve – effective communication – and not just in the snow.

“People say ‘You spend all day at work together and all evening together; I don’t know if I could do that.’ Well we feel that we’re really lucky. What better thing to do than spend all your time with the person you love.”