The 2018 Ski for Light International Week will be held from Sunday evening, January 21 through Sunday morning, January 28, 2018. First and second year guides will need to arrive one day early, by Saturday afternoon, January 20th, for guide orientation and training.
The 2018 event will be held in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northeast California. The Sierra stretches north-to-south along the eastern edge of California, and is renowned for rugged terrain, majestic beauty and an abundance of outdoor recreational facilities of all types.
The Sierra is home to three national parks, twenty wilderness areas, Lake Tahoe, and many downhill and cross-country skiing venues.
The area is also renowned for one other thing, an abundance of snow, with the average annual amount exceeding 400 inches in many portions of the Sierra Nevada range. The name Sierra Nevada itself, in fact, means “snowy range.”
Getting to and From Ski for Light
If you will be travelling to Ski for Light by air, you will want to fly into and out of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO). The airport is only ten minutes by bus or car from the event hotel, the Nugget.
Transportation between the airport and hotel will be provided by the free Nugget shuttle. They use both a 14 passenger van and a 28 passenger bus, both lift equipped.
On your day of arrival you will want to land at the Reno Airport no later than 4:00 pm, and earlier if possible. This will allow you time to retrieve your luggage, take the free Nugget shuttle bus to the hotel, get checked in and find your room, and make it to dinner at 6:30 pm.
The Nugget shuttle bus departs hourly, at thirty minutes past the top of the hour, from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm, from just outside the baggage claim area.
On your departure day, the Nugget shuttle departs on the hour, starting at 6:00 am.
Bear in mind that shuttle service by the Nugget is first-come, first-served, and they do not accept reservations. Other means of transportation such as taxi cabs are available if the shuttle schedule does not work for you.
Reno is also served by Amtrak, Greyhound and Mega Bus. While each of these is within five miles of the Nugget, you will need to provide your own transportation to and from the Nugget if you use this form of transportation.
In making your plans, please be aware that check-in time at the Nugget is 3:00 pm, while check-out time is 11:00 am.
The Event Hotel
The event hotel will be the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, on the outskirts of Reno. The Nugget is a large convention and resort hotel containing 1,400 rooms in two 28-story towers, with a 24-hour casino between the two towers on the ground level.
In addition, the Nugget contains 110,000 square feet of meeting and special event space, a year-round indoor/outdoor atrium pool with jacuzzis, a state-of-the art fitness center, two live entertainment venues, and eight restaurants and bars. One of the bars even has a mechanical bull pit, for anyone who did not get enough of this activity at SFL last year.
All Ski for Light meetings and activities, and most individual rooms, will be in the newly renovated East Tower. Most people will be able to go directly from their room to SFL activities and meals, on the second level of the East Tower, without having to go through the casino.
East Tower rooms contain either one King or two Queen beds. All rooms have a refrigerator, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, Keurig brand coffee maker, and i-Home units. Wi-fi access is complimentary.
Visit the Nugget photo gallery to view photos of the hotel and its facilities.
The Ski Area
We will be skiing at the Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area in Truckee, California. Recently voted as one of the top three cross-country ski areas in North America, Tahoe Donner has a 100 km trail system with terrain for all ability levels, and an average annual snowfall of 360 inches. The trail system meanders through beautiful meadows and forests; follows bubbling creeks; and climbs for some stunning views of the Sierra Crest. Five warming huts are conveniently located throughout the vast trail system to let skiers warm up as needed.
The Nordic Center, the newly constructed Alder Creek Adventure Center, offers rental services, large wax rooms and locker rooms, indoor and outdoor seating, a large Nordic retail store, a restaurant and pub with televisions and a fireplace.
Tahoe Donner is owned and operated by the Tahoe Donner Homeowners Association. It is one of America’s largest homeowner’s associations, with nearly 6,500 properties and 25,000 members enjoying over 7,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada.
Visit the Tahoe Donner photo gallery to view images of Tahoe Donner.
Meals During The Week
At Ski for Light all meals are group meals, meaning meals with a fixed
menu and in a location apart from other guests, as follows:
- Breakfast each day will be at the Nugget. From Monday through Saturday breakfast is a “distributed buffet”,
which means a number of items pre set on each table, such as hard
boiled eggs, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit and similar items, for those desiring a lighter
breakfast, and two to four hot food stations that offer items such as
scrambled eggs, oatmeal or cream of wheat, which rotate
from day to day. Breakfast on the final Sunday is a continental
- Lunch each day is in the Alder Creek Adventure Center at Tahoe Donner. Lunch includes hot entrees, sandwiches, soup and similar items.
- Dinner each evening, also at the Nugget, is a served, plated meal. The four meal plans that are available for the week are the Standard menu plan, which includes red meat, poultry and fish, the Pescatarian menu plan, which includes eggs, dairy products and fish
as well as other sources of protein (legumes and soy) but
no red meat or poultry, and gluten free versions of both the standard and pescatarian menu plan. Attendees must choose one menu plan for the entire week, with their choice noted to the wait staff by the color of the name tag that they must wear at dinners.
Cost For The Week
The total cost of the week is:
- $950 per person for double-occupancy
- $1,265 for single-occupancy
This amount includes room and all meals from Sunday evening January 21 through Sunday morning January 28, round-trip transportation between the Nugget and Tahoe Donner, all trail fees and all afternoon and evening programs and activities. Cross-country skis, boots, and poles will be provided free of charge to first-time visually-impaired participants.
The cost of transportation from home to and from Reno is the
responsibility of the participant. Partial stipends based on financial need are available for
guides and first- and second-time visually- or mobility-impaired participants. Full payment is due from all accepted applicants by December 1, 2017.
Please be aware that participants pay, on average, only 80% of their share of the total cost of each event. The remainder, amounting to $160 to $180 per person each year, must be provided by donations from individuals, organizations and foundations. We encourage anyone who is financially able to participate in our direct mail financial appeal, or to go to our donation form and make a tax-deductible contribution to SFL.
If You Are New to Cross-Country Skiing
If you have never cross- country skied before, or have minimal experience, there are two things that you need to know before applying to attend the Ski for Light International Week, or before actually attending the event.
- First, cross-country skiing is an aerobic activity that may not be physically appropriate for every prospective attendee. Each person who is considering cross-country skiing at the International Week must make his/her own personal decision about participation in this activity. To best make this decision, it is advised that each prospective participant consult with a physician, who can best inform the applicant about the risks of participation, given the individual’s medical history and physical condition. This is especially important for any applicant with any underlying medical condition, as cross-country skiing might exacerbate the effects of any such condition. For more information on this subject please read About Cross-Country Skiing and the Ski for Light International Week
- Second, once you have determined that cross-country skiing is appropriate for you, you should endeavor to get into a state of physical conditioning that will allow you to fully participate in the week’s activities. This is just common sense for anyone planning to participate in a week of physically demanding aerobic activity. To give you some suggestions on how to do this, here is a podcast describing how one SFL veteran prepared for a recent event.
The Application Process and Acceptance to the Event
In order to attend the Ski for Light International Week in 2018 you must first complete and submit an event application. The application asks for your contact and personal information, your desired meal and housing options for the week, and about your skiing ability and experience.
Ski for light will review the information in your application and make a decision about whether or not you can be accepted to attend the event. Important considerations in this evaluation are your skiing ability and experience if applying to be a guide, and the number of guides anticipated and your ability to participate in cross-country skiing if applying to be a visually- or mobility-impaired participant.
Applicants will be formally admitted quickly, in the order that they apply. It may become necessary later in the process to delay admitting additional visually- and mobility-impaired applicants if it appears that the number of guides who will be attending is not sufficient. We doubt that this will happen. But a word to the wise is to get your application in early.
While there is no formal deadline for the submission of applications, it should be anticipated that applications submitted after November 1 will be accepted only on a space available basis.
Applications for the 2018 event will be available here in July. If you attended the 2017 event you will be notified by e-mail when they are available. If you did not attend the 2017 event and would like to be similarly notified please subscribe to the SFL-Event@sfl.org mailing list by sending a blank e-mail message, no subject required, to