Imagine being registered blind. Now imagine throwing yourself down a steep slalom race course at 45 mph, only knowing where to go by following your guide’s bright yellow jacket and listening to what she says via your bluetooth headset.
You can’t see the gates you race through. You don’t know where the edge of the piste is, nor if there are any trees or hazards around. You don’t know what the snow conditions are like – and forget about seeing other skiers. You’ve got no chance at spotting them!
Meet James and Alice, Britain’s kick-ass visually impaired ski racers.
James Luetchford is a severely sight impaired alpine skier, who is guided by his wife, Alice Luetchford. They have represented Great Britain at international Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super-G races.
James’ eyesight impairs his skiing in the following ways:
James has extreme tunnel vision.
James cannot see moving objects (nor other skiers / edges of pistes / trees / walls of snowdomes).
His eyes take hours to adjust to changes in light conditions. Even tiny changes in light will leave him feeling blinded, as though someone has turned off the lights.
James is registered as being severely sight impaired at home in London.
Funding our ski racing is a huge challenge. With annual costs of £30,000 and receiving less than 5% in funding, we have to raise a lot of money each year. If you can, please support us on our journey by donating through the button below (you can claim GiftAid).
Alternatively, you can also support our ski racing by purchasing one of Alice's pieces of art. She is directly inspired by her time in the mountain and paints from photographs she's taken once she returns back to their van or flat in London.
Thank you - every single penny is massively appreciated!
Helping us stay lightning fast on our skis
Helping us stay steady on our feet and allowing us to thrash those gates out of our way
Our most important piece of kit: these bad boys need to be the best
Essential for helping us access the best quality care, quickly, to get us skiing together again
1 TRAINING WEEK
Crucial for refining our skills and abilities so we ski our fastest for races
What we do
Our home away from home
We, along with Molly and Moggs (our feline friends) live out of Louise, our home away from home when ski training and racing.
We pursue our nomadic life to reduce their outgoings when ski racing, and also to improve our quality of life when spending so much time on the road.
We were unable to race in 2019-20, and spent our time training to be as fast as possible. We are working hard to be in peak physical condition for the 2020-21 racing season.
Some events have unfortunately already been cancelled this season due to Covid-19, but we are optimistic that January will bring better luck, so watch this space!
In the meantime, we're physically training as much as we can with the fabulous Michael Ulloa!
Past races & results
3rd place: Tignes, France (April 2019) in Slalom - British National Championships race
3rd place (out of classified / classifiable males): Tignes, France in Giant Slalom - British NC race
3rd place: Horni Domky, Czech Republic (March 2019) in Super-G 1 - NC race
3rd place: Horni Domky, Czech Republic (March 2019) in Super-G 2 - NC race
3rd place: Meribel, France (March 2019) in Super-G 2 - NC race
3rd place: Vars, France (January 2019) in Slalom - WPAS race
Race Results: 2017/18 (guided by Ross Patterson)
3rd place: Tignes, France (March 2018) in Slalom - NC race
4th place: Landgraaf, Holland (November 2017) in Slalom - EC race
5th place: Abtenau, Austria (February 2018) in Slalom - WPAS race
5th place: Abtenau, Austria (February 2018) in Giant Slalom - WPAS race
Top Race Results: 2016/17
1st place: British Championships, Tignes, France (April 2017) in Slalom
1st place: British Championships, Tignes, France (March 2017) in Giant Slalom
1st place: Rinn, Austria (January 2017) in Slalom - IPCAS race
3rd place: Abtenau, Austria (February 2017) in Slalom - NC race
NC = National Championships
WPAS = World Para Alpine Ski race (formerly IPCAS)
IPCAS = International Paralympic Committee Alpine Ski races (renamed WPAS)
EC = Europa Cup