Park City • The howling wind and falling snow were the least of Robin “Bino” Gillon’s problems as he stood in the starting gate for a 2014 FIS Freestyle World Cup event at Colorado’s Breckenridge resort. His main problem was the cold. Everyone had their face covered to fend off the frosty bite of the minus-10-degrees air, and Gillon couldn’t read their lips. Plus, the batteries in his hearing aids kept dying.
For most of his career, Gillon, a professional freestyle skier, hid the fact that he was deaf. Not just a little hard of hearing, but truly, severely deaf. Until he was diagnosed at the age of 4 and received his first pair of hearing aids, he had never heard the crunch of gravel under his feet nor the trill of a songbird or the sweet shoosh of his skis on the snow.
In the 20-plus years after, he rarely heard about anyone with a hearing impairment doing anything cool.