Skiing with a visually impairment is all part of being on holiday with family and friends. Sally contacted Catherine at Ski 2 Freedom via a text message, as they were on a ski holiday in Sestriere (Italy) and she had been told by their Crystal Ski Rep Adam, to get in touch with us about finding an instructor – guide.
Knowing the resort has superb and excellent adaptive and assisted skiing any health-related, life-changing condition: paraplegic, blind, autism, amputee, Down's Syndrome, stroke......but also for blind skiers, this was an easy request to carry out!! Sally was put in touch with Gianfranco Martin who runs Freewhite and his sister Maracella then took Sally out on the ski slopes.
Freewhite www.freewhite.it has many years’ experience and all the specialist adapted ski equipment from Tessier so everyone’s needs can be catered for!
*“Sally was an intermediate skier before her sight problems, thanks to a very confidence boosting teacher in the 3 Valleys. Since sight-loss, Sally has skied in La Villa (adjoining the Sella Ronda circuit) in 2016, and it was Klaus from the ski school there who, by starting on the baby slopes, gave her the confidence to get out on the main slopes.
Then 2017, with Christophe (from Oxygene) in La Plagne, Sally had the fitness to ski solidly for three 2.5 hours sessions.
And last year, Amy from New Generation Ski School (based in Val d'Isere came across to Tignes and got Sally out and about for three lunch-time sessions despite the excessive snow-fall while we were there. And this year, on introducing a completely blind friend to skiing, Sally also had 5 refresher hours with DSUK at Tamworth Snowdome and at last got confidence back in doing parallel turns.”*
Sally and friends stayed at the Hotel du Col run by Crystal Ski Holidays and it is ideally located but not visited by Ski 2 Freedom so we are not able to determine yet how accessible it is for wheelchair users.
However, there are other hotels that are suitable and in particular the Principi di Piemonte www.principidipiemonte.it which is a 5 * superb hotel with ski in/ski out. Spa and pool available for guests and a wonderful warm Italian welcome! Stunning views and hidden just up the slope in the trees it offers a tranquil and relaxing place to stay – especially if one is not skiing all the time. Perfect also for those just wishing to rejuvenate and perhaps do some winter walking or snow-shoe walks.
In addition, and probably one of the best for full adapted bedrooms and bathrooms along with all the other hotel facilities, is the Hotel Lago Losetta owned by Gianfranco Martin. You can wheel down to the start of the ski slope but they also have an adapted vehicle to take you if needed.
Sestriere had well-maintained pistes considering no snow-fall since 16 Dec. It's a high level resort (2035 m) and having had cold weather, the snow, assisted by many snow cannons, was lasting. We expect the limited amount of Green / Blue slopes near the resort would get very crowded in high-season, as they seem to be on through routes between slopes.
Sestriere welcomes all skiers and non-skiers
Sestriere is a purpose built resort but offers something for everyone and in addition, is home of Pure Ski Company www.pureski-company.com who will be able to instruct privately or a group for those not needing specialist ski instruction. The mountains around are truly spectacular and offer some of the best off-piste and ski-touring anyone could wish for!! So, why not combine and, if friends or family want to take advantage of the best ski guide Pat Zimmer firstname.lastname@example.org to do the off-piste, whilst you have assisted skiing with Freewhite – what better way for everyone to have a totally inclusive and accessible winter ski holiday!
If there is room or conditions allow then it is possible to take a scenic helicopter ride – and that just has to be one of the most uplifting and spiritural events ever!!
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