April 28, 2014
Throat Mic Helps Blind Ski Students ‘Get A New Lease On Life’
Specialized Adaptive Skiing instructor integrates public safety throat microphone to transform the way in which skiing lessons are taught to the blind
For many, maneuvering downhill on a busy ski trail is already an intimidating challenge. Now imagine doing the same thing, but without your sense of sight. Courageous blind skiers across Utah have been living up to this challenge for the last five years with the help of volunteer ski instructor Steve Paige. Paige’s Specialized Adaptive Skiing Program (SASP) has been vital to providing these students with a renewed sense of purpose and better quality of life.
Paige has taught well over 50 blind individuals in the last five years. Students include war veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as young children part of the Make-A-Wish foundation. Grants through both organizations have supplied many students with complimentary equipment. Further, with 87% of Utah’s visually impaired population also being unemployed, Paige has gone to great lengths to provide his lessons at no cost. He is recognized as the only Specialized Adaptive Skiing (SAS) instructor within a 1000-mile radius to give lessons for free.
Paige’s philanthropic nature and compassion for others is by no means insignificant; these traits are essential to gaining the trust of his students—especially during their first visit. In most cases, Paige arranges a pick-up location and drives his students to the slopes, leaving only 15-20 minutes to establish a rapport and build a mutual trust.
Upon arrival, students are outfitted with ski equipment and a headset—the critical piece to their entire lesson. Using Pryme’s Gladiator SPM-1500 throat microphone to provide vocal directions to his students’ headsets, Paige guides his students around other skiers and objects down the hill. Paige believes that the throat microphone has “revolutionized” the way in which lessons are taught as well as experienced.
“In the old days, an instructor would be in front of the blind skier clearing the way as they came down the hill, which is ridiculous because they would be yelling and bringing unwanted attention…the experience would be pretty negative,” Paige continued, “But with the microphone, I can talk calmly and instruct them as I follow behind.”
The heavy-duty Gladiator throat mic was specifically designed to overcome the challenges presented in high-noise environments. Gladiator picks-up sound directly from the user’s vocal cords via dual mic elements, which eliminate the throat location placement issues often found when using single-element products. Ambient noise disruptions, such as high-winds experience at the top of the slopes or while skiing downhill, are nonexistent—which is critical when considering that the student’s safety is dependent upon clear and effective audio instructions.
Paige notes that communications with Gladiator are clear enough for students to easily pick-up on very minor tonality changes in his voice…making even the slightest feelings of concern, excitement, or happiness audible.
“When you’re under gale-force wind conditions, it’s all about the students safety. The throat mic keeps them safe not only emotionally, but also physically because of the fact they can hear me. I don’t need to fight the elements,” said Paige.
Paige’s lessons have helped pupils at every age level gain a new appreciation and purpose in life, and nearly every single student continues to ski with Paige on a regular basis. Providing his lessons for free remains to be of the utmost importance and is crucial to keeping instruction open to anyone who is visually impaired and wants to take on this new challenge. Pryme was happy to provide Paige with valuable, high-quality devices for his volunteer budget, as Paige described, “I’ve never asked for any contributions in five years, it usually comes out of my own pocket. But Pryme was willing to give and help out with nothing in return—other than just a ‘thank-you.’”
For over 23 years PRYME Radio Products has been a leading manufacturer of high quality products to professional users of two-way radios. PRYME is devoted to the professional two-way radio industry with a passion to create a better means of communication and a higher standard of reliability and comfort.