Back in the winter of 2008 I was lucky enough to be an cameraman for a documentary called Blind Skiers Edge. It is a film about Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind man to ever climb Mount Everest, his technique for skiing, and the state of blind skiing today.
I had met and worked with Erik on many projects before so I was used to regularly being inspired by him and his audacious adventures. What was really unique was the day we filmed a group of newly blinded Iraq & Afghanistan war veterans as they stepped into skis for the very first time. These wounded soldiers, who had giving their sight for our country, nervously approached this new challenge. They were learning to deal with their new disability in real-time, before our very cameras. When they each skied down the hill alone for the very first time and with arms raised triumphantly, realize they could still do anything they put their minds too, blind or not, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. It was one of the most truely inspiring things I've ever witnessed.
This is a preview of that film, in a poor resolution, that has nothing of the soldiers in it, but I hope it at least gives you the basic idea of what it means to ski blind.
Back in the Spring of 2007, I spent two and a half months in Nepal filming Everest: Conquering Thin Air 3D Imax, the sequel to the highest grossing Imax film ever made, with MacGillivray Freeman Films. For almost two of those months this was home, a tent at 17,500 feet at the base of the famed Khumbu Icefall. It was my first time ever working with Imax film and one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The film is due out in 2013.
This was the very first film project I ever worked on. I had only been on the job for three months when the boss asked, "Want to go to Africa and produce a documentary on malaria?" I immediately dove into one of the most rewarding and educating experiences of my career. Three continents and months of post production later we had Fighting Malaria, a feature-length documentary on the global malaria crisis that later won three industrial film awards.