MAKING FRIENDS AND EMBRACING CHALLENGES AT THE 36TH ANNUAL SKI FOR LIGHT INTERNATIONAL
On January 30, 2011, nearly 300 eager cross-country skiers will descend on Snow Mountain Ranch, high in the Rockies near Granby, Colorado for the 36th Annual Ski for Light International, a week of Nordic skiing culminating in a recreational 10K Race and 5K Rally. Even during this friendly competition, the challenge-loving skiers – from complete novices to long-time SFL veterans – will be cooperating more closely than most competitors ever dream of doing. After all, working together is a must at Ski for Light: one-half of the skiers taking on the world-class trails at Snow Mountain Ranch are visually or mobility impaired, and the others are the dedicated volunteer guides that ski alongside them.
And international it truly will be, with challenged athletes coming from countries as near as Canada and as far flung as Japan, along with others from France, the UK, Denmark and all across the US. There will also be a special contingent of Norwegians honoring Ski for Light’s founder and their countryman, the late Olav Pedersen. A ski instructor based in Breckenridge, Pedersen modeled Ski for Light on the Ridderrenn, an annual event in the mountains of Norway.
This year’s SFL International Week returns to Snow Mountain Ranch for the seventh time in its history, a testament to the site’s beautifully groomed trails, abundant snow and enthusiastic, professional staff. Yet along with the adventure of cross-country skiing, what really draws devoted Ski for Light attendees and will certainly inspire first-timers to return again and again are the warmth, camaraderie and shared life experiences that create long-lasting bonds of friendship and support for skiers and guides alike. “It’s a real honor and privilege to be the Ski for Light Event Chair 2011, and it’s been so much fun helping put the 36th Annual Ski for Light together,” said Theresa Montano, a totally blind Denverite. Ms. Montano, an Information Technology Project Manager PMP for Qwest Telecommunications, is returning for her fourth Ski for Light. “I can’t wait to ski with my new friends and the SFL community again,” she adds.
From first-timers and veterans to the occasional recreation-minded Paralympian, SFL’s diverse adult community is drawn together by a warm and supportive environment that also offers participants the chance to push beyond their boundaries. While some have been coming for many years, newcomers quickly become enthralled by the friendship and fun, all supported by careful, extensive planning by the all-volunteer non-profit organization to ensure a safe skiing environment, smooth logistics and an exciting, flexible schedule. Daily skiing may be the main draw, but there are also evening dances, a silent auction, special interest sessions, a nighttime sleigh-ride and bonfire and plenty of après-ski opportunity to socialize, schmooze and mingle – and to savor the pride of accomplishment that comes with a full day of cross-country skiing.
For more information about the 36th Annual Ski for Light International Week or about Ski for Light Inc., please contact Peter Slatin at (917) 584-6094, or go to http://www.sfl.org.