- How is cross country skiing different from downhill skiing?
- I am visually or mobility impaired, but have never cross country skied before. Is SFL for experienced skiers only, or is there room for beginners like me?
- Is a physical exam necessary for me to attend Ski for Light?
- I am interested in being a guide, but have never skied with visually or mobility impaired people before. Do I need prior experience? Will I receive any training?
- If I don’t have my own cross country skis, will they be available for me to use at the event?
- Will I be able to skate ski and/or downhill ski during the week, as well as cross country ski?
- What kind of clothing will I need during the week?
- What type of clothes should I bring for the non skiing parts of the week?
- Can I bring my non skiing spouse or partner with me to Ski for Light?
Answer: Cross country (or Nordic) skiing differs from downhill (or Alpine) skiing in several important ways.
In cross country skiing, the skier’s boot is attached to the ski by only the toe, with the heel of the boot “free”. The unconstrained heel allows a cross country skier to climb hills and traverse level terrain, as well as to travel down hills, making the sport a truly “cross country” activity. In downhill skiing, the entire boot is attached to the ski, which limits the skier to downhill terrain.
The equipment for cross country skiing is much lighter in weight and more comfortable than downhill ski gear. A downhill skier wears insulated clothing to stay warm, while a cross country skier wears lighter clothing because of the body heat generated by the activity.
Answer: SFL was created back in 1975 to teach visually and mobility impaired people how to cross country ski, and that focus has remained constant over the years. As a result, you will be right at home if you have never skied before. You will be taught the basics of the sport and given the chance to develop your skills. Many experienced and advanced skiers also attend each SFL event, but our priority and focus is on beginners, not on advanced skiers.
Answer: No physical exam is required to attend Ski for Light. Each applicant is expected to make his/her own informed decision about the advisability of participation, taking into account his/her individual overall health and the physical demands and risks of cross country skiing and of the Ski for Light program.
Answer: You do not need prior experience guiding a visually or mobility impaired person to be a guide at Ski for Light. You need to be an intermediate or advanced classic cross country skier, with the desire to be a guide, that is all. We will give you the training necessary to safely guide a visually or mobility impaired skier on the Saturday evening and Sunday at the beginning of the week.
Answer: Ski for Light provides poles, boots and classic cross country skis free of charge to first time visually impaired participants. Equipment will be available for rent by all guides and all other visually impaired participants. All equipment for mobility impaired participants will be provided free of charge.
Answer: Ski for Light is a classic only cross country skiing program. This is the skill that Guides have, and this is what is taught to blind and visually impaired participants. You may skate ski on your own during non SFL hours, of course.
Downhill skiing is a totally separate activity and not part of the SFL program. Most Ski for Light events are held in proximity to good downhill skiing, however, and many attendees plan their trip to SFL to allow time for downhill skiing before or after the SFL event.
Answer: For cross country skiing you will want to bring lightweight underwear and outer garments that can be layered to suit the conditions, and which allow moisture to wick away from the body. You will also need gloves, a hat or headband, and socks with the same properties.
If you have never cross country skied before and do not know what any of this means, talk to your Application Coordinator for guidance, or to a cross country or sporting goods store in your area. Make sure that the store knows that you will be cross country skiing, not downhill skiing.
Answer: Attire for the non skiing parts of the week is casual. However, many people dress up for Norway Night on Friday and the Banquet on Saturday, so you will want to bring one or two outfits that are a bit more dressy for these evenings.
You will also want to bring a bathing suit, as the heated pool is a favorite congregating place in late afternoons.
Answer: As long as there is space available in the hotel, you may bring a non skiing companion with you to Ski for Light. Your companion will need to pay the same event fee that you pay, whether he/she is a skier or not. A few non skiing companions attend every year as “worker bees,” helping out in the SFL Information Room or store. Most people who come to SFL do not bring a companion, since they find that they are busy almost all of the time with the various activities of the SFL week.
If you do bring a companion, he/she needs to submit the separate application that is available on the SFL website.