by Melinda Hollands
Ski for Light (SFL) makes tracks to Rhinelander, Wis., January 28 through February 4, 2024. Ski for Light, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, hosts an annual, week-long event where adults with visual or mobility impairments learn the basics of cross-country skiing.
Around 250 active, adventurous adults from across the United States and several other countries will meet in Rhinelander to ski the Northwoods of Wisconsin and hopefully catch a glimpse of the mythical Hodag. Participants will stay at the Quality Inn or AmericInn and enjoy skiing on trails expertly prepared by the Northwoods Nordic Ski Club. While described as a fearsome creature with giant fangs, bull horns and spines down its back, the Hodag will certainly be smiling as new participants learn the thrill of gliding on the snow while veteran skiers hone their skills, and everyone builds confidence and friendships to last a lifetime.
During the international event, each blind/visually or mobility-impaired skier is paired with an experienced, sighted cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and on-snow guide. The program emphasizes recreational trail skiing, rather than competition, with the skier and guide deciding together each day how far, how long, and on what kind of terrain they will ski.
“I immediately felt right at home as a first-timer,” agrees skier Jessie Mabry of Connecticut. “I was not surprised to find that the week was everything I’d expected and more, whether on the trails with my fantastic guide or around the fireplace during evening pop-up jam sessions. There was always plenty to do, but no pressure to do it all.”
Come and share the magic by participating in the Ski for Light 2024 International week as a skier, a guide or a volunteer. Applications for all, including details about event fees and financial assistance, will be available in late July/early August at www.sfl.org; meantime, you can get answers to frequently asked questions on our website and join our community on Facebook or Twitter (Ski for Light, Inc.), and check out our YouTube channel (Ski for Light International). To speak with a visually impaired participant in person, call VIP Recruitment Chair Melinda Hollands at (231) 590-0986.