Donovan Tildesley is blind a skier. Have you ever said something like, "I couldn't see a thing up there. It was like skiing blind!"? Donovan Tildesley can relate. Whether it's bluebird or a whiteout, it doesn't matter because Donovan wouldn't know anyway. He's been visionless from birth. Donovan was born with a condition known as Leiber’s Amaurosis, which left him without retinas. Despite this fact, his parents were determined to expose him to any and all activities that a sighted child would be a part of. Donovan began skiing at age three.
Donovan is also a very accomplished swimmer having attended 4 Paralympic games, numerous World Championships and other events winning a number of medals. He's also the World Record holder in both the 800 and 1500 freestyle events. Donovan had the honour of being Canada’s flag bearer at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Since retiring from competitive swimming, Donovan uses skiing as his favourite athletic outlet. He makes it up to Whistler Blackcomb a handful of times a year where he can be found skiing double black diamonds with the assistance of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program. The program coaches individuals with sensory, cognitive or physical disabilities, offering specialized equipment, therapeutic programming and alpine ski instruction for a range of participants.
Donovan's skiing skills are solid so all he really needs is someone to ski with. Keep an eye out for him next time you're up on the hill and go say hi.