LEAD “The real success is the great feeling participants and guides share, and the bonding throughout the week.”
Bill Young has helped with the Black Hills Regional Ski for Light event for 25 years. Young is a board member who helps coordinate the cross-country skiing events.
Black Hills Regional Ski for Light gives physically challenged, visually impaired, and blind athletes a chance to develop and polish skills. This week marks the 34th running of this event.
They will participate in alpine (down hill) skiing at Terry Peak. Nordic (cross-country) events are set for Wharf Resources area.
Ski for Light welcomes all skill levels from beginners to experienced. Events started Sunday and run through Thursday.
Young said all reports indicate plenty of snow will be available. He added trees at Wharf Resources bear 1 foot of snow.
Between 80 and 90 individuals from throughout the United States are anticipated to attend. Young said last year’s event included a skier from Toronto and a couple from the United Kingdom.
More than 100 volunteers help in every imaginable capacity. Some serve as ski guides; others aid with logistics like helping skiers with equipment and preparing meals.
Young said Ski for Light participants have said they do not feel they have a disability.
Many factors contribute to the event’s success. Young said participants gain confidence on the hill and apply that to other aspects of their lives.
What does Young enjoy the most? “I sit down at the end of the day and enjoy conversations with the participants,” he said. This allows him to extend old friendships and create new ones.
Some of Young’s fondest memories involve seeing skiers’ faces light up on race days. He said some spectators might find their previous beliefs about people facing a challenge.
One bus leaves for the cross-country skiing area at 9 a.m. Monday. A second bus departs for Terry Peak at 10 a.m. Lunch is served at both sites at noon; buses return to the hotels at 4 p.m.
Bus departures are slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday. Skiing times are 9:15 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served from both sites at noon. Buses return to the hotels at 4 p.m.
A 9 a.m. departure time begins the skiing activities for Wednesday. Skiing times are 9:15 a.m. to noon, with Visually Impaired Downhill Racing starting at 10 a.m.
Downhill skiing ends at 3 p.m. Wednesday. A bonfire begins at 4 p.m. from the cross-country site. The first bus returns to the hotels at 4 p.m.; the second bus does so at 5:30 p.m.
The Thursday schedule begins with a 9 a.m. bus departure. Downhill racing begins at 9:30 a.m. Snow sliders go first, followed by cross-country/snowshoe races. Lunch is served at Terry Peak starting at noon.
Thursday’s races resume at 1 p.m. and are set to conclude at 4 p.m. A banquet and awards dinner at Deadwood Mountain Grand gets underway at 7 p.m.
Young said Wharf Resources has been quite generous and gracious in allowing use of its site.