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Ski Patrol Conference features visit from 16 year old skiier

Jacob Smith was the first legally blind person to take on the Big Couloir in Montana.

skiing pic.jpg
Empty chairlifts in Detroit Mountain.
Mike McGurran
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Even though there's no skiing on Detroit Mountain this time of year, that doesn't stop their ski and bike patrol from making sure they're prepared for emergencies.

During the winter, members of the ski patrol are hard at work patrolling the mountain, making sure that they are ready to go in case of an onsite emergency. This time of year, people swap skis for bikes.

They still manage to get some practice in. Detroit Mountain hosted the Western Region Ski Patrol conference on June 18. It was a day full of events, including some hands on training sessions. They ran drills on emergency procedures for bike accidents, simulating their process for finding and securing injured bikers.

Also on hand today was Jacob Smith, a Minot teen and freeride skier. He's the first legally blind skier to take on Montana's Big Couloir. I ask him what got him into skiing in the first place.

"The adrenaline, that's the biggest thing," said Smith. "And also feeling like you just feel more free. When you're up that high. You can see everything like mountains and you feel like you're on top of the world

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He fielded questions in a Q&A session about his skiing experiences, and received a standing ovation at the end of it.

It's clear that this humble farm kid is still getting used to being considered a source of inspiration to others.

"It's not really weird, but it's just like, what I inspire people by doing to me is just normal," said Smith.

For now, he's going to keep pursuing his passion,.

"I'm pretty much just focused on just slowly knocking out more and more iconic runs," he said.

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