Good Night Camping Equipment
      
Skiing Tips

Blind Skiers See the Light

by: Stephen Michael Kerr

About three hours west of Denver lies Snow Mountain Ranch, one of the top cross-country ski centers in the United States. Known as the "YMCA of the Rockies", it boasts a large ski chalet and over 90 kilometers of packed and groomed trails.

From January 30 to February 6, 2005, the center will host the 30th annual Ski for Light International event, a week that brings blind and mobility-impaired adults together with sighted ski instructors for cross-country skiing and fun social activities. Participants come from the United States, Norway, and several other countries to either learn skiing for the first time, or improve on previously developed skills.

The first Ski for Light was held in Norway in 1964, and was so successful that a nonprofit all-volunteer organization was formed. Chapters began spreading to other parts of the world, and the program was first introduced to the United States in 1975. The idea is to provide the blind and mobility-impaired a chance to experience the freedom and benefits of physical activity through cross-country skiing.

At the beginning of the event, each skiier is paired with an instructor/guide, according to experience level. Beginners are taught basic fundamentals of the sport, while more advanced skiiers work on improving their techniques and endurance.

Skiiers navigate the slopes in pre-set tracks or grooves in the snow, while their instructors ski on a parallel set of tracks. The guide advises when to change direction, speed up and slow down, and describes any changes in the level and direction of the tracks. Skiiers with mobility impairments use sit-skis, while their guides give instructional tips and offer physical assistance if needed. In addition to cross-country skiing, mobility-impaired participants also have the chance to learn the sport of sled-hockey during the week.

The sighted instructors are volunteers from all over the United States who pay their own way to attend, just like the other participants. Duane Farrar, a blind skiier and chairman of Ski for Light's Public Relations Committee, says their role is vital to the success of the program.

"They are there because they love cross-country skiing and wish to share that love with someone like myself who otherwise might not have the opportunity to experience the sport and the exhilarating sense of freedom that it brings," Farrar explains.








The highlight of the event is a 5-K rally and 10-K race, complete with national anthems and Olympic-style finish line. Skiiers get the chance to showcase the skills they've learned during the week over a measured distance, but don't have to be competitive or athletic. The only thing asked of them is to give skiing a try, and have fun.

Mary Kozy, a blind clinical social worker from Chicago, was a bit apprehensive when she attended her first Ski for Light in 1978. But it didn't take her long to discover the joy of learning to ski, and meeting other people with positive attitudes.

After attending Ski for Light, I caught the "if I can do this, I can do anything" attitude, and went on to love skiing," Kozy recalls. "It is a real high to go to SFL for a week and be around so many enthusiastic people."

While skiing is the big attraction, it is only part of the total experience. After a day on the slopes, skiiers and guides return to their hotel for dinner, talent shows, music and dancing, or just lounging in a heated pool or hot-tub. Even poor snow conditions can't stop the event. In cases of extremely low temperatures or not enough snow, participants organize games, field trips, exercises, and other activities.

Many skiiers believe the most rewarding aspect of Ski for Light is the memories and camaraderie they share with each other and their guides.

"The friendships I've made through SFL are deep, and those I will have all my life," Mary Kozy says. "People come through town and visit, and we are now like a big family."

Deborah Kendrick, a freelance writer and devoted participant, agrees. "I believe there is no other environment in which participants suspend, so completely, the sense of who is and who is not a person with a disability," she says. "People of all walks of life come together for that one week to share a love of skiing, the outdoors, learning, and loving life."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To find out more about Ski for Light, or the upcoming event in Granby, Colorado, visit:
www.sfl.org



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About The Author


Stephen Michael Kerr is a blind radio broadcaster, freelance writer, and publisher of Adaptive Sports And Recreation, a free ezine devoted to sports for people with disabilities. To subscribe, http://zinester.com/mpb/ml_fs.cgi?topic=41809
For a sample issue, send an e-mail to: mailto:stevekerr@ev1.net with "Sample Issue" in the subject.
stevekerr@ev1.net

























Camp Cooking

10 Wide Open Tips For Food Safety In The Great Outdoors 
Baked Salmon Recipies 
 Camping Food That Works for You
Cook-Ahead Campouts
Dutch Oven Cooking Basics

Camping Tips


Camping Equipment Essentials
Top Tips for Successful BackCountry Navigation
Primitive Navigation in the Outdoors
Camping and Outdoor Activities
Camping Makes the Weekend Perfect
Great Family Camping Trips
Camping With Man's Best Friend
17 Tips That'll Safeguard You and Your Family From Dog Bites or Attack
Backpacking South East Asia on an Adventurous Route
Altralight-Backpacking
They're BACK! The (Dreaded) Black Flies
Bird Watching at Its Best-5 Great Tips

Camping Equipment


What To Know When Buying Binoculars
Night Vision Devices
Highpointing: It's Not Just For Mountaineers
10 Benefits You Get from Using Trekking Poles For Hiking
Things You Should Know About Tents
20 Tips on Sleeping Warm in the Outdoors
Let There Be Light, Part 1 “ The Camping Lantern
Camping Lanterns Guide: Backpacking And Camping Lantern Tips
Twenty Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Sleeping Bag

Outdoor Survival


If You're Ever Lost in the Outdoors!
Understanding Frostbite
Hypothermia
Post-Hiking Pain
The Power of Ice
Five Life Skills for BackCountry Enjoyment
5 Things You Must Do If You Want To Create a FIrst Aid Kit For Your Family
(Dog)Basic First Aid
Be the hunter, not the hunted - Hunting Safety Tips everyone should know
Black Bear Chasing Kid Style

Water Tips


Are You Buying a Boat Check Out These Tips First
What You Need To Know Before You Sell Your Boat
Costa Rica White Water Rafting Trip
Enjoying Your Vacation in an RV
Kitesurfing Equipment Dangers

Skiing And Winter Fun


You Too Can Ski Down Mount Everest
The Ultimate Skiing Experience
Organize a Cat Skiing Trip, Ski at a Discount
One for Ten Cabin Fever in Haines Alaska
The Road to Expert Skiing
Blind Skiers See the Light
Skiing Exercises for Recreational Skiers
You Don't Have to Hurt Yourself to Snowboard
Fun Places To Go For A Family Snowboarding Holiday
Snowboard Girls Take Your Skills To The Next Level At Girls-Only Camps
Alpine Snowboarding

Skatesailing “ The Ice Age
A Look at The Intriguing History of Snowboarding

Photography Tips


Photography Contest - a Fun and Rewarding Experience
7 Things You Must Do If You Want To Make That Perfect Camera Shot
Nine tips for taking great digital photographs
Have You Read Your Digital Camera Manual?
Digital Camera Auto Exposure and Auto Focus
Digital Camera Macro Mode
Exposure Compensation
Reduce Red Eye
Scouting Cameras
Take Spectacular Nighttime Photos with your Digital Camera - Part I
Landscape Photography
Some Tips On How To Find The Right Camcorder

Fishing Tips


Making the most of your time - Fishing Safety rules everyone should know
Be Prepared!
Red Ear Sunfish
The Tackle Box of Quotes
Change Your Clocks
Uplevel Your Fishin' Rod For Power & Strength!
Photographing Your Trophy Fish
 
Finding Trophy Bass
Care And Repair Of Fishing Lures
Fiberglass Reproduction “Today's Answer to Taxidermy
6 Things You Must Learn If You Want The Secret To Catching More
Trout

Winter Trout Fly Fishing




© 2004 All Rights Reserved
162 Park Ave., Cambridge,
Ontario, Canada N1S 2S6
Phone: 1-519-740-3123