The mission of Foresight Ski Guides, Inc. is to promote fitness, athletic skills, personal achievement, self-confidence and self-esteem for individuals who are blind or visually impaired by providing challenge recreation opportunities through affordable access to snow sports.
Foresight Ski Guides was founded in 2001 by Mark G. Davis in response to the urgent need for affordable, accessible snow sports for blind and visually impaired skiers. Mark, a financial executive, lost his functional vision overnight in 1999 due to a rare complication of multiple sclerosis.
Foresight provides to a blind or visually impaired participant (our VIPs) a lift ticket, guides, equipment rental, and transportation assistance and super discounted lodging, if needed. We do this through our generous Founding Sponsors; Vail Resorts, the Vail Marriott, Vail and Beaver Creek Sports, the Inn and Suites at Riverwalk, Colorado Mountain Express, and generous foundations, corporations, and donors like you. While our sponsors provide approximately 40% of our overall budget with in-kind support, we still need your direct (cash) support - thank you, in advance!
Over the last decade, Foresight has steadily expanded its programming to meet the changing needs of its visually impaired participants (VIPs). Our work with children now constitutes more than 60 percent of our programming, and we are reaching out to children mainstreamed in Colorado's public schools. We have been contacted by schools for the blind throughout the U.S. and will be working with them to fit them into our busy schedule for local blind students.
Foresight's program is much more than a "fun day out" for people with disabilities. All of our programming is built on the philosophy and methods of challenge recreation, where participants build skills and courage by engaging in what they initially feel is a frightening situation, but with support they discover they can safely push their boundaries and learn lessons that apply to other areas of their lives. Some do this by climbing a mountain: others do this by jumping out of airplanes. Foresight Ski Guides does it through affordable access to skiing and snowboarding at Vail and Beaver Creek, CO.
Visually impaired people are far more likely to be sedentary than the general population. As a result, people who are visually impaired experience a range of health problems related to inactivity and lack of exercise-heart disease, stroke and depression and anxiety - at rates much greater than their sighted peers. Those who lose their vision may experience a loss of confidence and become depressed as they begin to face the reality of life with a disability. Having an affordable option for recreation is very important, as only 30% of visually impaired adults are employed and those who are employed tend to earn less than their sighted peers. In addition to providing a safe and fun opportunity to engage in physical activity, Foresight offers friendship and a sense of purpose. We invite all our VIPs to become part of the organization as volunteers on committees, as board members, and as ambassadors for our program.
Foresight Ski Guides opens up a world of possibilities for blind children. As Gracie's mother Rebecca can attest: "It's about so much more than the skiing. Gracie loves the snow and the speed, but it's also about being able to do what her older brother does. Skiing with Foresight has proved to her that she's strong and capable. Now when she says 'I can't', I remind her that she can ski down a mountain, and if she can do that, she can do anything-anything at all that she puts her mind to." (Gracie is completely blind due an inoperable brain tumor.)
"Once the children can conquer the mountain, they can conquer everything else life throws at them." - Barbara Meese, former principal, Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.