Skiing for blind and partially sighted people

When most people think of skiing, they think of taking a ski lift up a mountain and then gliding down at great speed. Most skiing that blind and partially sighted people do however, is cross country or Nordic skiing. This is immense fun, and great exercise in the outdoors. Cross-country skiing involves skiing in ready prepared tracks or grooves in the snow. You are likely to have small slopes to contend with, but nothing like downhill or alpine skiing.

Metro will consider subsidy requests for members to attend various skiing events. Examples are given below, but these aren’t exhaustive.

Blind and partially sighted people ski with a guide who will assist in the way that best meets the skier’s needs and preferences.

If you’re a beginner, the guide will show you how to ski, and if you’re a seasoned skier, they will give you tips to improve your technique. So, even if you’ve never handled skis before, you shouldn’t feel afraid to give it a go. Another crucial function of the guide is to ski close to the blind or partially sighted skier to give them information about any slopes coming up; to help them stay safely in the tracks; and, some would say most importantly, to tell them when the next drinks station is coming up!

Ridderweek

  • The Ridderweek for 2020 takes place Sunday, 22 March and wrapping up on Sunday, 29 March
  • Ridderweek is held in March or April in Beitostolen Norway.
  • At Ridderweek there is a 5km race for women or a 10km race for men; a biathlon (a 6km ski coupled with sonic rifle shooting); and the 20km Ridderrennet race. 5km race for women or a 10km race for men; a biathlon (a 6km ski coupled with sonic rifle shooting); and the 20km Ridderrennet race.
  • You can read Metro member’s accounts of the previous Ridderweeks by accessing the ‘articles’ link on this page.
  • Contact Mike: mike@mikebrace.co.uk  for enquiries about the skiing trip

Want to know more?

For more information about skiing at Ridderweek for blind and partially sighted people and Metro’s involvement, contact Mike Brace at: mike@mikebrace.co.uk

 

Ski For Light (SFL) 2021 and COVID 19

By Tim McCorcle

Greetings, My SFL Family!

As we head into the dog days of summer, I hope this finds you well. The remarkable year of 2020 continues to challenge our creativity as we attempt to establish new rhythms and rituals for our days, as well as our willingness to explore alternative opportunities. The challenge posed by the upcoming 2021 Ski for Light International gathering was no exception. On July 23, the Ski for Light Board of Directors decided to stage an online 2021 SFL Virtual event next January instead of an in-person gathering at Snow Mountain Ranch. I would like to provide some insight around how we made this decision.

Bonnie O’Day, SFL board member and 2021 International event chair, spearheaded the effort to structure our decision-making process. Gleaning information and guidance from The Colorado and Grand County departments of public health, from Snow Mountain Ranch, and from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, she distilled her findings in a document identifying aspects of a Ski for Light event that would require significant attention to detail or modification in order to hold a safe in-person gathering. We distributed the document to several medical professionals within the SFL community, asking them to comment on its contents, and on the prospects for a group gathering at Snow Mountain Ranch. The Ski for Light-specific document was then distributed to the SFL Executive Committee and Board of Directors.

The consensus opinion of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors is that a Ski for Light event is a group gathering with a high risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. This conclusion is based on the demographics of our group — with the median age of guides being 65 and of skiers being just below 60, the majority of participants would be traveling to Snow Mountain Ranch from outside Colorado, transiting through airports and riding the SFL shuttle to Granby; that our vibrant social scene would be problematic for keeping consistent physical distancing; and that members of our guide-skier tandems interact in close proximity to each other, likewise making it a challenge to maintain recommended social distance.

We identified numerous modifications that should or could be made in an effort to lessen the risk of virus transmission. Considering the impacts of implementing these modifications, we concluded that, in doing so, the altered event would not be true to the spirit and mission of Ski for Light.

While I am disappointed that we will not be physically gathering at Snow Mountain Ranch in January, I am excited about the prospects for the 2021 SFL Virtual Get-Together. It will provide an opportunity for old friends who might not otherwise attend an event high up in the Rockies to drop in, to say “hello,” and to catch up. It will provide a chance for newcomers to experience the vibrancy of the SFL community without having to purchase a plane ticket, and it will give them ample time to budget for the 2022 event. SFL Members will have the opportunity to display their creativity and ingenuity through the creative programming that will be the hallmark of the upcoming event.

The 2021 SFL Virtual Get-Together will not be the same International Week that we have come to expect. It will be Ski for Light, and it will amaze, inspire, and fuel us until we can gather together again in-person!

When the tracks wash out: Staying connected and motivated

By Julie Coppens

You know that feeling when you’re smoothly diagonal-striding along in the tracks, maybe even double-poling at speed, swoosh, swoosh, all your fine classic Nordic technique coming together, your whole life moving forward on a clear line from here to there, and then, suddenly — maybe a split second before the guide has a chance to call it — the tracks wash out, your skis fly apart from under you, and boom!, you’re getting an icy exfoliating facial?

Yeah, the last five months have been pretty much like that for most of us, if not worse. Where did the damn tracks go? When will we get them back?

Here’s what I can say for sure: Our Ski for Light community is strong. We’ve conquered unexpected challenges before, and if we stick together, we can certainly overcome this one.

I hope more of you will consider contributing short videos or audios to our “SFL Well at Home” series, accessible in the following ways:

  1. via Facebook: www.facebook.com/pg/SkiforLight/videos/?ref=page_internal
  2. via our website: www.sfl.org/well
  3. via YouTube (coming soon): www.youtube.com/channel/UCGgaioekoncKk0iqGtyOOUg/about

Please send me your favorite in-home fitness hacks, motivational tips, questions and requests — let’s help each other get and stay in shape this fall and winter, so that when we are able to ski together again, our bodies will be ready.

My email is jycoppens@gmail.com; for sharing large files, Google Drive or Dropbox work well.

New this fall: We’re developing a Ski for Light podcast, inspired in part by Tim’s recent cameo on Eyes on Success www.eyesonsuccess.net/show%20notes/show%20notes%202030.htm

Give it a listen if you haven’t already — Tim did a great job.

I’m currently fielding suggestions for a snazzy podcast title, particular topics and speakers you’d like to hear, preferred listening platform(s), and anything else you audiophiles would like to share as we refine the concept and roll it out in the coming weeks. My goal is to create a space where SFL’ers can share our stories, celebrate our victories, confront common challenges, learn and laugh and have fun together — simply with our voices. And if you’d like to lend your own voice to the podcast, by all means, speak up!

Thanks, everyone, and hang tough. We’ll be back in the tracks before you know it.

SFL Sets Virtual Tracks for the 2021 Event

By Bonnie O’Day, 2021 Event Chair

The 46th annual Ski for Light International Event, set for the last week in January 2021, will go virtual, due to the continuing threat of COVID-19. The Board of Directors thought long and hard about this decision, considering the health of our attendees and the measures needed to keep everyone safe.

We had to operate under several assumptions as we considered whether to hold an in-person event. We assumed that the COVID-19 virus will still be active, that a vaccine will not be widely available by January 2021, and that social distancing and wearing masks will be recommended or required. We examined attendee characteristics from the last few years and found that a high percentage of them are considered at higher risk for contracting the virus because many are 65 years of age or older or have secondary health conditions. We used the US Olympic/Paralympic Committee Guidelines for Planning Events and the Grand County, Colorado, COVID-19 Activity Specific Protective Measures documents to guide us in determining what mitigation measures would need to be implemented to keep attendees safe during the event. We conducted an attendee survey, and consulted several physicians who routinely attend SFL.

We considered what actions we should take if we held the event, given the current situation and the likelihood of little change by January. We considered how we might keep everyone safe on buses from the airport to the lodging and to and from the ski site — as well as further safety concerns around room assignments, meals, social events and evening programming, skiing, and the race/rally. We also considered actions we must take if someone became ill during the event.

The required mitigation measures would dramatically alter the flavor of the event and would significantly restrict social interactions. While cross-country skiing is the primary purpose of SFL, the social experience — interaction with others, and being part of the SFL community — is of equal or more value. For these reasons, we opted for a virtual 2021 event.

While the Board is, of course, disappointed that we won’t meet in person, we are very excited about the possibilities of holding a virtual event: It might attract people who have considered attending an SFL week, but who have lacked the time or financial resources to do so. It may provide a wonderful opportunity to present SFL to a broader community and to engender interest in attending future events.

We are beginning to plan for our virtual event, with a wide range of accessible content to help our community stay active and engaged. A fitness or exercise competition, special interest sessions, a social hour, an auction, and a virtual banquet are being considered. We won’t need the usual committees for an in-person event. Instead, we are proposing the following committees:

  1. Program: This committee will consist of creative and talented people who can come up with interesting virtual programs and activities, including a fitness or exercise competition, a social hour, and special interest sessions.
  2. Auction: What would an SFL week be without our usual Wednesday night auction? This committee will explore how to make it happen virtually.
  3. Banquet: We need a special event to cap off the week. This committee will come up with something wonderful.
  4. Technical: This committee will have technical expertise and will figure out how all of this will take place.
  5. Public Relations/Recruitment: This committee will go beyond our usual channels to publicize the event

Please email me at bonnoday@gmail.com with your willingness to serve on one of these committees, or with your innovative and creative ideas. Together, we will make the event one of our best!

 

Looking Back at the 2020 Ski for Light Event

Photo Memories

Many people who attended the SFL 2020 event in Wyoming have posted individual photos as well as photo albums to the SFL Facebook page. Click here to view photo’s and keep up with SFL happenings.

2020 Race and Rally Results

View or download the 2020 Olav Pedersen Race and Rally results (MS Excel format) from the 2020 event.

Media Coverage

Two local Casper television stations aired feature stories about Ski for Light during the week.

K2 TV story by Bobby Falat  – YouTube Video Below

 

General  SFL Event details

  • 25% of attendees are first-time skiers, and on the final day, you have the chance to participate in a 5km rally and a 10km race.
  • You can read Metro member’s accounts of the event by accessing the ‘articles’ link on this page.
  •  For more information click here to go to the SFL site..

    Speed of Light guide training programme

New training tool this year for new and returning guides: an eight-minute video supplement to the Guide Handbook, which illustrates essential Nordic skiing skills like diagonal stride, full and half-snowplow, herringbone, and lane changing.

If you’ll be a guide at SFL 2020, even if you’ve been with us for many years, take some time this week to review the handbook and watch this video. You’ll be glad you did. And we invite all our participants, as well as anyone just curious as to how all this works, to check it out at the following link.

https://www.sfl.org/pubs/SFL-training.mp4

 

 

Back to top