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Deaf Snowboarding:

Also see: Sign for Snowboarding

Lauren Brizzi

Deaf Snowboarding

Skiing and Snowboarding have always been a part of my life. Ski trips were weekly with my dad during the winter. I absolutely love the sport and I am currently an officer in the Sac State Ski and Snowboard Club. ASL 1 has taught me a lot about the signing community and because I enjoy snowboarding and skiing so much I wanted to research what these two had in common. After some research I came across the United States Deaf Ski and Snowboard Association (USDSSA). This organization was founded in 1968 with 45 members. By laws were formed and officers were voted in. They were to meet every two years and membership fees would cover office supplies and medals. In 1970 members decided to join the "American Athletic Association of the Deaf (AAAD, now known as USA Deaf Sports Federation) in order to participate in the Winter World Games for the Deaf, and to bid to host the Winter World Games for the Deaf at Lake Placid, New York in 1975." (

The USDSSA formed a ski week convention, soon hearing people learned about the convention and then formed there own US Ski Association convention. At these conventions the deaf members urged ski patrol companies to carry pen and paper with them when on the mountain so they could communicate with deaf skiers and snowboarders. Throughout the last 30 years this association has become quite notable in helping members get into the Winter Deaflympics. The Deaflympics is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The Deaflympics were started in 1924 by Eugene Rubens-Alcais and known then as the silent games. The Silent Games were the first for any group of people with disabilities. In 2007 there were over 96 countries registered to compete in the Deaflympics. "Over 600 athletes and officials participated in the 16th Winter Deaflympics in Salt Lake City, United States in February 2007." (

Slovakia will hold the 17th Deaflympics in February 2011. Unlike the Olympics the Deaflympics have few regulations to compete. To compete you must be, Deaf, defined as a hearing loss of at least 55 dB per tone average in the better ear (3-tone frequency average at 500, 1000 and 2000 Hertz, ISO 1969 Standard) AND Members of an affiliated National Deaf Sports Federation and citizens of that country. The Deaflympics has Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year, currently Amanda Goyne from USA is the title holder for Alpine Skiing. She brought home 3 medals in 2003 and she is 2 in the US Ski and Snowboard Association by her age group in the slalom and giant slalom events. To be deaf and a skier or snowboarder should not be too challenging because it is more of an individual sport. I think that all ski patrols at all mountains should carry pen and paper so they can communicate with deaf skiers. It is amazing that the Deaflympics has become such a popular sport. I would recommend skiing or snowboarding to any deaf or hearing person it is such a tranquil thing to do. To be on the mountain with nothing but blue skies, fresh powder, and your board strapped to your feet is the best feeling in the world. Nothing is stopping you, its you and the mountain!


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