Ski For Light at Snow Mountain Ranch
The 42nd annual Ski for Light International event is being held from Feb. 5-12 at Snow Mountain Ranch. The event will bring together more than 200 skiers and guides from more than 35 states and several countries including Norway and China. This will be the 10th time Snow Mountain Ranch has hosted the Ski For Light event.
Ski for Light is a program that enhances the quality of life and independence of visually or mobility-impaired adults through cross-country skiing. Skiers and guides have often described Ski for Light as a life-changing event. Ski for Light is about partnerships based on trust, safety, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and enjoyment of the sport of Nordic skiing. Skiers and guides come from every adult age group and occupation.
Skiers set the pace, asking their guides to assist with building skills and endurance or simply enjoying the outdoors. The week concludes with a 10-kilometer race and 5-kilometer rally.
For many skiers, the goal is simply completing the 5K or 10K course, while others compete against the clock. This year, for the first time at Ski for Light, skiers can also compete in a biathlon.
Dave Wilkinson, a blind skier and Ski for Light Public Relations Chair, has attended the event eight times. Wilkinson said he likes the wide variety of trails at Snow Mountain Ranch that range from beginner to expert. He said Snow Mountain Ranch has always been willing to work with the Ski For Light program and has taken excellent care of them. Wilkinson has been Nordic skiing for 20 years and loves the relationship that is developed between the skier and guide. He pointed out that competitors are putting their full trust in their guide during the event and they must work as a team. The guides push the skiers to do the best they can, and the skiers put their “immediate future in someone else’s hands,” Wilkinson said.
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The Mustangs cross country team trudged through a muddy 5K Saturday morning during the West Grand Invitational, a race that slowed times but sent the fun factor through the roof for many of its competitors.