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80-year-old blind woman still enjoying Alta’s slopes

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Posted at 9:38 PM, Apr 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-06 00:12:55-04

ALTA, Utah - We all face obstacles in life that challenge us in one way or another, and for an avid skier visiting Utah from out of town, that challenge was getting back on the slopes.

"This is forty-third year I've come out to Alta," said Gillian Lindt, who first started coming to the mountain decades ago. "The skis have changed so much," she said.

Lindt, now 80 years old, was a regular in her twenties and thirties, but she was forced to give up the sport altogether ten years ago.

"I lost my sight. I have an unusual form of macular degeneration, where you're never supposed to totally lose it, but I just had massive hemorrhages," she explained.

Lindt never imagined it would be possible to hit the slopes again, until she met volunteer instructor, Steve Paige.

"She knows what she's doing. She blends right in. Everybody treats her just as normal as everyone else." said Paige, who shadows Lindt's every move down the slopes, directing her by radio. "Kind of guiding her like a plane in an airport. So, I’m kind of landing her in the perfect place."

Lindt's visits to Alta may look different today than they did years ago, as she now travels with her family and guide dog, Bridgette.

"In my head, I still see the mountains, so that's wonderful, too," she said.

But where some might see a mountain that’s impossible to climb, Lindt just sees a perfectly groomed downhill slope.

The skier said, "I was telling Steve yesterday, I have no idea what it’s like to be in Heaven, but it felt like Heaven yesterday."