Imagine standing more than 9,000 feet in the air, atop a mountain with nothing but more peaks around you and just two skis to find your way down. Now, imagine finding your way the down the mountain blind, and that’s what Tyson Rettle and Mark Bentz did earlier this week.
On Wednesday, March 22nd, two blind skiers left Heather Mountain Lodge, west of Golden to take on some of Rogers Pass’ greatest peaks. Working with Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, the skiers aimed to raise money for the Braille Mountain Initiative, which is a non-profit organization aimed at inspiring blind and visually impaired people access the backcountry.
Skiing 25 runs with the help of Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, the skiers took on 25 runs in total, with a goal of descending 25,000 vertical feet. The trip was not the first for the duo, but it was the first time they took on the Purcell and Selkirk Mountain ranges.
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Rettle founded Braille Mountain Initiative in 2023 after a successful career as a ski guide and avalanche professional. Rettle founded Braille Mountain Initiative after losing his vision from a rare condition called Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.
Bentz is a paralympic athlete with two Olympic gold medals to his name. Born in Vancouver, he started losing his vision at 9 years old. While losing his vision brought new challenges to his life, Bentz credits it as the ‘foundation’ of his success.
The two skiers are trying to raise $15,000, which will help fund “future trips and opportunities for visually impaired adventurers to get out into mountains, connect with nature and experience both hiking and skiing programs.”
To donate, head to their Rally Up page.