Share this page

DWA Guide Training Weekend was a huge success

DWA Guide Training Weekend was a huge success

Disabled Wintersports Australia (DWA) carried out their Adaptive Snowsport Guide Training at Mount Hotham over the weekend.

The two-day program teaches guides how to assist people with disabilities out on the slopes and offers specialised training with certificate recognition.

The core focus of the training included mountain orientation by viewing the mountain through the eyes of an adaptive snowsports guide including safety terrain selection, overview of adaptive equipment and how to fit them, the role of DWA and their guides, and an introduction to Sit Skis – lift loading, shadowing and bucketing.

The guides also focused on techniques used to support people with disabilities who are out on the slopes and learnt how to assist a vision impaired person on and off a ski lift.

Perfect weather and good snow coverage saw the Disabled Wintersports Guide Training be a success with 11 participants and three trainers seeing an increase in attendance from last year’s program.

Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism, Major Events and Regional Victoria Danielle Green attended the weekend training and said that the program helped people to get in touch with the adaptive skiing sport.

“DWA is really informative and has gone beyond my expectations and they know the mountain well and they really know disabilities - I have great trust in them,” Ms Green said.

“It’s a real experience and you have to let go of your inhabitations and your fears when you actually act like you are a vision impaired skier.

“I think doing a course like this I know that we skiers can really open ourselves up and diversify, and we can open the mountain to a greater range of skiers to enjoy the pleasure and joy that is Victoria’s great alps,” she said.

Also showing their face over the weekend was vision impaired alpine ski racer Shaun Pianta who is currently training as a Paralympian.

Mr Pianta lost his vision when he was nineteen while on a holiday in Bali, when he contracted a super bug that shut down his liver and severely decreased his eye sight. He is now classified with the International Paralympic Committee and has been competing since November 2015.

Mr Pianta said that DWA allowed him to find a sport he was passionate about and opened him up to the possibilities and facilities that are available for vision impaired people.

“I didn’t really know vision impaired ski racing existed until I found out about DWA and they told me the possibilities,” Mr Pianta said.

“By chance I saw DWA advertising that they run a program for people with vision impairments, so I took a pamphlet, applied to go and the following year I went to the camp in Perisher. I was paired up with a DWA guide for the week and we skied and had instructive lessons.

“In 2013, I started by doing a couple of weeks and the following year I moved to Jindabyne for the season, and in 2014 I was selected to join the Australian Paralympic development team,” he said.

Head Teacher at Dinner Plain Primary and Secondary College Graeme Sanderson said that the two days of training was “outstanding”.

“I had an fantastic two days in terms of getting and overview of what’s involved in adaptive sports guiding,” Mr Sanderson said.

“For me, it really helped me gain an understanding of all the equipment used for visionally impaired, an enormous respect I now have for those people, and realising how valuable a guide would be.

“The pacing of the two days has been outstanding, they all rechecking for understanding, asking what our objectives are and had we met them which is the way you want a course to run.

“I think that they are able to adapt incredibly well and most of them seem pretty self-motivated and they just need support to follow through and have the same success and access that a non-adaptive person would have,” he said.

For information on how to become and adaptive snowsports guide, click here.

07 July 2017