The Toronto Ski Hawks is a volunteer-led recreational down-hill ski club which pairs visually impaired skiers (Ski Hawks) with fully sighted, highly trained, experienced ski guides.
Back in 1969, a small group of adults who were blind were invited, through the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), to try alpine skiing together with some recreational students from Centennial College. The experiment was so successful that after the ski season, they formed their own club, The Ski Hawks. It was the first such club for blind and visually impaired skiers in Canada.
Our Club is open to anyone who is legally blind (less than 10% of full vision). No prior skiing experience is required. Our ski guides are trained to provide ski instruction to novice as well as experienced skiers.
Seeing the World Through the Eyes of a Ski Hawk
Can you imagine gliding down a beautifully groomed slope on a bright sunny day? Now cover one eye and picture your descent on that same hill. Where are the trees? How do you know where the ski course is? How do you prevent collision with fellow-skiers? The ski guide’s Number One priority is safety. Calling left/right turns as well as keeping their skier on course are key elements to a great descent.
Our Trained, Highly Skilled Guides
Our club could not function without the dedication and knowledge of our volunteer ski school. Our volunteer guides complete a rigorous training course and receive on-going direction from the ski school leadership.
“I’ve been a guide with the Toronto Ski Hawks for 25 years and every year is awe-inspiring! Initially my son asked me to bring him to an event because he wanted to try skiing. As a non skier myself, they asked me to learn to ski and become a guide. Within a couple of years, I was trained as a guide and now, my son’s career takes him away from skiing and I’m still guiding for the Ski Hawks. I can’t imagine a better volunteer experience.” Louis Murgaski
Our Ski Hawks Club membership includes
· 9 Saturdays of instructional guided skiing
· bright yellow shell jacket for identification and safety on the ski hill
· weekly transportation to Southern Ontario’s private and semi-private ski resorts
· Summer bbq and theatre outing
· And of course, plenty of fun and physical fitness that down-hill skiing offers
Our visually impaired Ski Hawks pay an annual membership of $30 and weekly fees of $30 towards the cost of transportation to the out-of-town ski resorts. As you can imagine, these fees don’t come close to covering our total expenses.
Toronto Ski Hawks will not turn anyone who is legally blind away due to their inability to pay club fees.
Funds raised through the GoFundMe campaign will cover our major costs: transportation, ski jackets, extra helmets and skis and a subsidy for our members who cannot pay.
Our total campaign: $12,000.
“I joined the Ski Hawks this past winter as a novice skier at the age of 45. In just 8 weeks I learned to ski and can’t get enough of it! Our ski guides demonstrate poise, patience and incredible skill. Above all, it’s fun!” (Shannon Hill)
The success of The Ski Hawks is due to the continued interest among people who are blind or vision impaired in outdoor winter recreational sports and the resulting companionship of others sharing this enjoyment of skiing. Remember, vision loss can happen to any of us due to age, accident or injury.
By supporting the Toronto Ski Hawks’ GoFundMe campaign, you will help us to continue to make down-hill skiing accessible and ensure we keep our skiers on the slopes. By making a donation and then sharing it with your network, we would greatly it. And please ask everyone in your network to share this campaign with their networks. We know that money can be tight, so please know that even $5 helps us get closer to our goal of $12,000! We welcome any questions or inquiries about volunteering as a ski guide. Visit our website for more info.
To request your tax receipt for your donation of $25 or more, please contact us by email. Please include your first & last name, mailing address, email address, the amount donated and the date of donation. We will be pleased to email you a tax receipt.