Ski for Light 2010 – Spread the word!
The 35th annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Sunday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010 in the Wasatch Mountains of Northern Utah. Participants will stay at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Provo, and ski at the Soldier Hollow cross-country ski area in nearby Midway. Soldier Hollow was the cross-country skiing venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The idea of teaching blind people to cross-country ski began in Norway in the 1950’s with a blind Norwegian musician named Erling Stordahl. His work led in 1964 to the creation of the Ridderrenn, which today annually attracts more than 1,000 disabled participants and guides from around the world to the mountains of Norway for a week-long event. The Ridderrenn concept was brought to the United States in 1975 through the efforts of Olav Pedersen, with the support and involvement of many others. Olav was at the time a ski instructor in Colorado and had immigrated from Norway a decade earlier. He had known Erling in Norway and been aware from the very beginning of Erling’s dreams and plans. The following article, written by Olav in 1995 just prior to the twentieth anniversary Ski for Light event, presents Olav’s recollections of those days in Norway, the first U.S. event, and his belief that his involvement with Erling Stordahl and the SFL concept was truly a matter of fate.
Ski for Light, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. Each year Ski for Light conducts a week-long event where blind and mobility-impaired adults are taught the basics of cross-country skiing. The event attracts upwards of 300 participants and guides. During the Ski for Light week each disabled skier is paired for the entire week with an experienced, sighted, cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and guide.
The blind and mobility-impaired adults who attend each Ski for Light week come from all over the U.S. and from several foreign countries. Many of them come to Ski for Light with a desire to become more physically active and to find recreational opportunities that are lacking at home. Through the process of learning how to cross- country ski, most discover that they can accomplish much more than others have told them, and much more than they themselves believed. They leave Ski for Light with a sense of accomplishment and motivation that carries over to every aspect of their lives.
The volunteer guides who attend Ski for Light are a very special group of people. They pay the same event fees as disabled skiers in order to share a favorite activity with someone who may otherwise not have the opportunity to participate. Most guides discover that in the process of giving of themselves they are getting as much or more back in return. Many return to participate, year after year.
If you have never before attended what many have called the experience of a lifetime, please consider Ski for Light’s 2010 International Event. Additional information can be found at www.sfl.org. Visually impaired individuals interested in attending can also contact Visually Impaired Participant Application Coordinator Lynda Boose at (906) 370-7541 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Mobility impaired individuals can contact Mobility Impaired Participant Application Coordinator Dianne Brunswick at (602) 504-3521 or email@example.com.
To be a guide, no experience with visually or mobility impaired people is necessary. Instructor/guides should be intermediate level classic cross-country skiers who are capable of safely managing their own speed and direction while at the same time communicating with their skiing partner. SFL holds an intensive one-day training session with seasoned skiers and guides. Prospective guides can contact Guide Coordinator Brenda Seeger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (218) 253-2010.
The experience of a lifetime awaits you!