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Deaf People and Snow Skiing

By Grant Nethery
April 5, 2009

Snow Skiing and Deaf People

Being a Hearing person, I never imagined that there would be many deaf skiers, because teaching in ski schools is typically done by speech. Let alone that there were organizations that are dedicated solely towards deaf skiers themselves. While researching I found that there is a United States Deaf Ski and Snowboard Association, a Deaf Ski Club of Rochester, and even a Deaf Olympics. These organizations serve as outlets for deaf people to be surrounded by people of the same culture, the Deaf Culture. With the advancement of the internet, being deaf is becoming less and less of a challenge, because finding clubs and events like these is an easier task than it was in the past.

The United States Deaf Ski and Snowboard Association, USDSSA for short, is a sports "organization dedicated to fielding the best Deaf skiing and snowboarding teams in the country" (USDSSA, 2009). Applying coaches, in this organization, have to pass highly regulated standards. One of the standards is sending in a five minute video tape of signage. This was interesting to me because it never crossed my mind that a signing coach better have the right dialect to communicate to their participants. The executives of the company are the following people; Rachel Loftus - President, Shira Grabelsky - Vice president, Anthony DiGiovanni - Treasurer, George Postlethwait -- webmaster.

The Deaf Ski Club of Rochester, DSCR for short, is a club with a "mission to grow the number of skiers, snowboarders, and x-country skiers of the Deaf Ski Club of Rochester in the Northeast. We encourage hard of hearing, interpreters and hearing students who are motivated to learn ASL to join us" (Deaf Ski Club of Rochester, 2003-2006). This club seems like something I would like to join. The main reason for my interest is that I am a skier, however it helps that I am not excluded by being a hearing person. I think it would be exciting to become a small part of the deaf culture, this is an avenue that incredibly interests me. They "plan on organizing everything from lodging based day tours to ski expeditions with destinations such as the Eastern and Western United States/Canada, and various European resorts" (Deaf Ski Club of Rochester, 2003-2006). I did not notice any trips planed for Tahoe, but if they do plan any, I am going to try and make it to those events. This website provides tons of amenities; from news letters, to fliers, to workouts, and even rooms to team up in with other signers. This is definitely a helpful sight to visit if you are a signing skier/snowboarder whom needs a deal on tickets and lodging.

The Deaf Olympics is a World event that I had no clue existed. "The summer and Winter Deaflympics are among the world's fastest growing sports events. More than 3,200 deaf athletes and officials from 67 nations participated in the 20th Summer Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, in January 2005. Over 600 athletes and officials participated in the 16th Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, United States in February 2007" (International Committee of Sports for the Deaf CISS, 2009).

The website notes that the first Deaflympics was held in 1949. The rules and regulations are exactly the same as the original Olympics. One of the aims of the Deaflympics that I found interesting was the "promotion of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) principles throughout the world thereby creating global goodwill in the Deaf community" (International Committee of Sports for the Deaf CISS, 2009). One of the events in the Deaflympics is downhill skiing. I am a downhill skier myself so this is inherently intriguing to me. There are also visual pictorials of each event described so everyone can understand, hearing and non-hearing. After visiting this web site I am convinced that I will catch the next televised deaf Olympics.

These are just three avenues down the correlation of deaf people and skiing. I am positive that as the technical realm grows so will outlets for the deaf. Web pages such as USDSSA and the DSCR will continue to grow, and with that the Deaf Olympics. One thing is for certain, deaf skiers will be heard.


Author unknown (2009). USDSSA. Retrieved April 3 2008: <>

Author unknown (2003-2006). Deaf Ski Club of Rochester. Retrieved April 3 2008: <>

Author unknown (2009). International Committee of Sports for the Deaf CISS. Retrieved April 3 2008: <>


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