For the past 49 winters Ski for Light, (sfl) has turned thousands of people with disabilities into lovers of Nordic or better known as Cross Country, skiers. Snow usually makes disabled people pack up and head south to a more friendly climate. But cross-country skiers are known to do snow dances up to and including pacts with the devil hoping for suitable snowfall.

There are two main disabilities that sfl targets, Visually Impaired or blind and mobility impaired. Blind skiers maneuver the groomed tracks with a sighted guide. For a lot more information about skiing with a visual impairment go to sfl.org.

Most mobility impaired skiers, called sit skiers, use a metal/fabric/Kevlar sit ski that is mounted on two skis that fit the standard width groomed trail. Skiing outside a groomed trail is called free skiing and depending on weather conditions might be the optimum place to ski. Propulsion for a sit skier is accomplished using two ski poles. Sit skis and poles are provided at a sfl event or you can bring your own gear. Cross country skiing is one of or is the best exercise to improve aerobic capacity in a person. And, a in-shape sit skier can ski just as fast as an able-bodied skier. There are several “regional” events, usually a long weekend around the USA and Canada. Annually, there is one “International” event held someplace once a year in a snow friendly State. The event is called international because in attendance are disabled people from around the world. There are also weeklong events in Norway and Japan. Just like blind skiers, sit skiers at a sfl event are paired with an able-bodied “guide” who offers help if a sit skier tips over or has difficulties going up or down hills. Friendships are usually cemented for life between skiers and guides.For more information about events and other details, such as cost defraying stipends for first time skiers can be found at sfl.org