“When walking around town there’s always scenarios where I'm needing help. When I’m skiing in the backcountry, it feels like just a normal ski day.” - Tyson Rettie, owner and founder of Braille Mountain Initiative.


Tyson was working as a guide at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, when he was diagnosed with optic neuropathy. In 2018, Tyson gradually began to lose his vision, and by 2019 he was completely blind. Although Tyson has no central vision, he retains some very limited remaining peripheral sight, able to see blurry shapes and colours in his periphery. 

As Tyson’s vision degenerated, he knew that he could no longer work as a heli-ski guide, but he still continued to ski tour in the backcountry with his friends. He wanted to continue working in the industry, but quickly discovered a void when it came to guided backcountry skiing opportunities for the visually impaired. 

Tyson prefers backcountry to resort skiing, and considers it safer for visually impaired skiers as it eliminates the hazard of others on the mountain. He wanted to share the sense of freedom and independence he had while he was skiing in the backcountry, and make the sport more inclusive, so he started his not-for profit organisation, Braille Mountain Initiative. 

In January 2021 Tyson guided the first participant of the Braille Mountain Initiative in the beautiful Purcell Mountains surrounding Invermere, BC. Watch this short documentary about the experience, and learn first-hand about what it meant to everybody involved.

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