The 46th annual Ski for Light International Event, set for the last week in January 2021, will be a virtual one, organizers have announced, due to the continuing threat of COVID-19. Plans for a week-long gathering, where blind and mobility-impaired adults are taught the basics of cross-country skiing, are moving to January 2022, when it should be safe again for skiers, guides, and volunteers from throughout the United States and beyond to travel to an SFL venue. In the meantime, programming will shift online, with a wide range of accessible content to help the community stay active and engaged, and perhaps expand its reach.
“This was a difficult decision based on a lot of research, and we know some folks are going to be disappointed,” said SFL president Tim McCorcle. “A virtual event is definitely going to be different, but it’s a move in keeping with our tradition of adapting to new challenges with creative solutions, while keeping everybody safe.”
During a typical Ski for Light week, each skier with a disability is paired with an experienced, sighted cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and on-snow guide. Pairs explore the groomed terrain together, enjoy afternoon special-interest sessions and evening social activities, an early-morning stretch class and more, all leading up to the Olav Pedersen Race/Rally. The 2021 event committee, led by visually impaired skier Bonnie O’Day, is already brainstorming ways to bring the best of SFL to the virtual realm, for everyone who wishes to take part.
“I think there are some really fun possibilities, including our usual special-interest sessions and virtual activities to get us all up and moving,” O’Day said, pointing to recent successful online events by the American Council of the Blind and other organizations. “We’re learning from all of them, and I know our event will be unique, accessible, and memorable.”
- Tim McCorcle talks about the joys of Nordic skiing on the Eyes on Success podcast.
- New England Regional guide Clarence Feng writes about his experiences with diversity at Ski for Light for FasterSkier.com.
Our “SFL Well at Home” video series helps members stay healthy while hunkering down.