Ski for Light, Inc. is an all-volunteer, non-profit, organization founded in 1975. The mission of Ski for Light is to teach visually- and mobility-impaired adults the sport of classic cross-country skiing, to give participants who have already mastered the basics the chance to improve their skills and endurance, and to enable participants to just have fun on the snow.
Each year Ski for Light, Inc. conducts a week-long International Week that attracts upwards of 250 participants and guides. The location of the event changes from year to year in an effort to spread the Ski for Light philosophy and idea to as many parts of the country as possible.
During the Ski for Light week each visually- or mobility-impaired skier is paired for the entire week with an experienced, sighted, able-bodied cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and guide. The visually- or mobility-impaired person skis in tracks or grooves in the snow, while the guide skis in a parallel set of tracks. The guide informs the skier about upcoming changes in the terrain and trail, offers instructional tips and suggestions, support as necessary, encouragement, and describes the countryside.
The visually- 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 fit, and to find recreational opportunities that are lacking at home. Most of these skiers discover, in the process of learning how to cross- country ski, 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 back home.
The volunteer guides who attend Ski for Light are a very special group of people. They pay the same event fees as visually- and mobility-impaired skiers so that they can share a favorite activity with someone who would otherwise not have the opportunity to participate. Most of these guides discover that in the process of giving of themselves they are getting as much or more back in return. Many of them return to each event, year after year.