How “Ski for Light” helps the visually and physically impaired have a great time on the slopes

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Monday, January 23, was the first of the four-day-long Black Hills Ski for Light event. Ski for Light is an international organization that provides adaptive ski equipment for people with physical impairments.

What kind of equipment do they have?

Ski for light provides three different types of equipment: a snow slider, bi-ski, and mono-ski.

A snow slider is like a walker, but with skies on it, it helps people who can stand, but need some assistance to be stable.

A bi-ski is a seat with two skis on the bottom and a guide helps the skier down the hill.

A mono-ski is a seat with a single ski on the bottom. With the use of outriggers, it allows people to ski on their own.

For people who are visually impaired, a skiing partner helps keep them out of trouble.

“He’s big enough where he can set me back up if I tip over. And I’ve got some eyesight. So sometimes I can keep him out of the trees,” said Fred, who uses a mono-ski and assists another skier, Richard.

The two skiers also wear helmets with a headset in them so that they can communicate on the slopes.

Check out these photos of the skiers and some of the equipment they use:

What it means for the skiers

The participants in Ski for Light are very grateful for all of the things that Ski for Light offers.

“It really helps, you know, taking some people out of their shell and give them that opportunity to get back in the physical activities,” Richard said.

Skiing acts like an equalizer, leveling the playing field for those who are visually/physically impaired with those who aren’t.

“We have a bunch of volunteers and guides that come up and basically we pair everybody up and we ski for about four days a year. We get a chance to get them out there and get people out skiing on the slopes instead of maybe just sitting at home or going to work or whatever goes on their life and they get a chance to get out, go skiing, just like anybody else,” said Ray Bubb, the President for Black Hills Regional Ski for Light.

In addition to the equipment, Ski for Light also offers discounted lodging and financial assistance for those who need it.

During the four-day event, there is a lot more than just downhill skiing. There is also cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

The participants in Ski for Light say that one of the best parts about the organization is that it gives them the opportunity to be treated like normal.

“Many people have said over the years they just get they feel like they’re being treated like a normal human being,” Bubb said.

If you would like to help out. You can do so through donations or volunteering.

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