LEAD, S.D. (KOTA) — It’s an experience of a lifetime for people who are mobility or visually impaired.
This week, participants of the annual Ski for Light Program hit the slopes at Terry Peak in South Dakota.
Black hills Regional Ski for Light, a 4-day event, gives people the chance to cross country or downhill ski or snowmobile, despite everyday challenges they may face.
“Every year, you just meet so many new neat people from across the country,” Ray Bubb, Ski For Light Board Member, said. “I mean, we say regional, but we have a lot of folks here that come from all over the United States.”
Most people say they love the adrenaline rush of going downhill.
“I started with cross-country and then one of my friends taught me how to downhill and I was like, I like downhill better than cross country,” said Tara Kundson, who is visually impaired.
Most people have been coming for years and say the event is like a family reunion.
“I’ve been coming the past seven years for Black Hills Regional Ski for Light, and I’ve been downhill skiing since I was 11,” said Jacey Enget, who is mobility impaired.
Blind skiers have guides who help them get up and down the slopes and people with a mobility impairment use ski carts. Volunteers provide the exact same experience a skier would get in a cart.
At the top, you’re told to keep your hands inside the cart, and put 100 percent of your trust into your guide.
People say the feeling of flying is what keeps them coming back every year.
“It’s amazing, from the bottom of my heart, I want to say ‘thank you,’” Kundson said.
“We ski all day, and party all night,” Enget said.
Nearly 330 people attend the event which ends Thursday with a ski race.