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Have you ever dreamed of learning to cross-country skiing?  Being out in the woods, enjoying the snow crunching under your skis, returning to a warm fire for hot drinks and friendly conversation?  

Are you a seasoned skier who wants to share your love of this Nordic sport and accompanying culture? Are you visually or physically impaired (a VIP in our vocabulary!) and want to get outdoors and have fun!  Would you like to offer assistance to MSFL as a worker bee or guide?

At Michigan Ski for Light, we have been focused on bringing this love of skiing, snow, and fun to those with Visual or Physical impairments for nearly 5 decades.  For years we have hosted our event on the north shore of Higgins Lake at the Ralph A. McMullen Conference Center with the help of the Roscommon Lions Club.  This year, we are excited to announce that this long-time partnership is growing even tighter with the Roscommon Lions agreement to Co-Sponsor our event!  

animated art - cross-country skier

What does this mean for MSFL?  For years the Lions have provided volunteers and support to enable many of our logistics.  Transportation to and from the ski trails, warming areas at each trailhead with a bonfire, hot drinks, and great conversation.  In addition, they have hosted our Friday night meal and Saturday social along with financial support.  All of this remains, but now are able to expand our recruitment activities through all of the Michigan Lions Club chapters.

We have been blessed for years with many committed guides who are able to teach skiing to those who have never been on skis all the way up to chasing our most competitive skiers.  We are now focused on growing our participant numbers so more people, from more communities, can share in our love of skiing.  If you know of someone who may be interested, please encourage them to check us out at MSFL.ORG

Registration for the MSFL 2024 event will open on November 1, 2023.

If you have participated with us in the past, we will be offering discounts for anyone who is responsible for bringing a first-time VIP skier to attend the 2024 event. More details will be on the website by the time registration opens.

We are looking forward to another fun year of food, fun, laughter, and enjoyment while celebrating winter activities in the great outdoors! Hope to see you there!

Ted Ellickson
President, Michigan Ski for Light

We are excited to announce that registration for the 2023 Annual Event is now open! Dates are January 13, 14, and 15, and as always, it will take place at the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center.

New this year:

First, we have a new registration coordinator. Please welcome Hayley Balogh and be patient as she learns the ropes. A big thank you to Geri Feigelson for volunteering as registration coordinator for many, many years.

Next, you have the option of paying online using either Venmo or Paypal. There will be a small fee to use any digital payment option, but it is only the amount that MSFL is being charged and no more. We encourage you to use one of these methods. Please read the instructions on the Online Payment page before you register. Here are links to important pages:


Online Payment


Note that you'll be able to use Venmo, Paypal, and hopefully Square payment options at the event too. This will be awesome for purchasing auction items!

The board works hard to keep costs for this event to a minimum but you'll notice they did have to increase it this year in passing along their own rate increases. We hope to see you in 2023!!

Note on COVID
MSFL plans to follow the COVID policy of the RAM center that is in place at the time of the event. The board has the right to make adjustments as deemed necessary. MSFL asks that all participants use their best judgment regarding their health prior to attending the event to ensure their and that of every MSFL member present.

There will be changes to the 2022 annual event based on the COVID policies of the RAM Center and the Michigan MSFL chapter. Please see the requirements below.

Ram Center COVID policies:

  • Face masks are required for RAM Center Staff and guests
  • RAM Center is pre-packaging all meals 
  • They are regularly cleaning and sanitizing the facilities
  • Sanitation Stations are available throughout the grounds
  • Social distancing is required in meeting rooms, so we anticipate using the education center for the majority of our indoor activities
  • As a State facility, the RAM Center is following all state protocols so if things change come January we will have to change with it

Michigan MSFL Board COVID requirements for attendance:

  • Participants for the 2022 MSFL event shall be fully vaccinated for COVID-19   -OR-
  • Must be tested negative for COVID-19. The test must be taken within 72 hours before the start of the event, which officially begins Friday, January 14, 2022, at 6 p.m.

There will be no exceptions to the above requirements. Thank you for your cooperation.

Hello to my MSFL family and those considering joining our life-changing organization.

My Father Jim Ellickson, who was one of the founding members of this great organization, included his kids in everything he did. This allowed my sister Kim and I to literally be raised within our MSFL community. Having started with this group more than four decades ago, it was one of the greatest honors of my life to be selected as the new President of Michigan Ski for Light. When I look at some of the incredible leaders this organization has had and the impact they have left on not only MSFL, but my personal life as well, I am humbled to have this opportunity to continue serving.

I certainly never expected one of my first acts as President to be the cancellation of our January 2021 event, but that is exactly what I am faced with doing today. The Executive Board reviewed our safety options and our financial obligations. The more we tried to look at ways of modifying our event to conform to the social distancing and safety protocols the more we realized it just would not work for our group.

We also asked the Executive Board to research the financial obligations we would have to meet if we tried to delay this decision. Unfortunately, we quickly realized these financial risks would be well beyond the means of our group to absorb.

I'd like to thank the board members, especially our Treasurer John Peiffer, for the work they put in to find all the facts and allow us to make an objective decision.

In true MSFL fashion, the story does not end here. In a typical year, we all invest a long weekend in this group. Even accounting for sleep (and who gets much of that when we are having that much fun) we all spend around 36 hours skiing, dancing, playing cards, sharing talents and catching up with life long friends.

I would like to challenge all of us to do the same this year, just not at the RAM Center. To support this goal and improve our organization at the same time, we are going to undertake a few actions at the Board and Committee levels to come up with opportunities to make our return in 2022 the best event we have ever held.

I will be working with a sub-committee to review the organization of our committees and their duties. We will then ask each of the Committee Chairs to compile a list of their duties and their current committee members. We plan to post all of these to our website so everyone can see what it takes to make this organization run and more importantly, where people can contribute their talents to help accomplish these commitments.

We want this organization to continue running in a fully transparent fashion and empower all of us to take ownership in this group we love so much.

As we work to prepare this information, I'd like to challenge everyone to start "participating" in your MSFL family now. Call some of your friends just to catch up, write a story about past experiences or keep a journal about this year's alternative activities. Most importantly, make sure to get outside and enjoy the outdoors.

Until we can slip and slide again,

Ted Ellickson
President Michigan Ski for Light

The Michigan Department of Resources publicized Michigan Ski For Light in a big way this year! Diane Paize Engle from the Michigan History Center wrote a wonderful article about 2020's MSFL Annual Event and had it published in the DNR's newsletter: Showcasing the DNR.

Complete with quotes from old-timers and newbies alike, you'll re-live that experience all over again when reading it.

Here is the complete article as a PDF. Enjoy!


Hello all,

I enjoyed speaking with the heads of all nine US regional SFL organizations recently and I learned quite a bit. Many of us share the same concerns of aging memberships. Most of us are continually looking for new ways to attract skiers and guides and to raise more funds to support our events. Several of you suggested having a conference call to brainstorm recruitment and fundraising ideas. We might arrange such a call in September or early October. I will keep you posted.

The deadline for the next edition of the Ski for Light Bulletin is about 10 days away. If you have not done so already, please send me information on your upcoming events for this fall and winter. Send the information to Please do not respond directly to this e-mail, unless you want it to go to the entire listserve.

Bob Civiak
Regional Liaison, SFL Inc.

Michigan skier's dominate the Ski For Light event held at Shanty Creek Resort, MI

1st Place Marie Pacini - Totally Blind Women under 56 years of age

2nd Place Nino Pacini - Totally Blind Men under 56 years of age

2nd Place Lynda Boose - Totally Blind Women 57 years of age or older.

3rd Place Sean Oden - Partially Sighted Men

Guide Gary Earnley helped his skier from Australia take a 3rd Place finish in the Totally Blind Men 57 years of age or older. The VIP that Gary Earnley had, attended SFL for several years and this was the first time he has ever placed in the top 3.



Michigan SFLers!!!

Ski For Light International week was as fine as always this year! Although Mother Nature flexed her muscles during the arrival process and delayed many people, eventually we all made it to Anchorage.

Temperatures started at about 10 degrees and gradually rose through out the week to a high of 49 (and sunny). Unfortunately, this FINE final temperature melted the race course so NO races this year. But, also no injuries either and this is a good thing!

Since the first place prizes always have the date and location on them, each race division had a random drawing and Geri and Marie won! SO, Michigan is so good that we ended up with to first place prizes even though there was no race. How cool is that?

Other highlights from the week were that we attended the ceremonial start of the Iditarod, a horse drawn hey/slay ride, silent auction (got out bid AGAIN), and several dances.

All week was festive in Anchorage as it was something they called Furendezvous (pronounced fur Rendezvous) which hosted all types of fun events. Just a few were The Outhouse Race where teams of people race carrying an outhouse; a carnival (complete with rides); a Running-of-the-reindeer race (patterned after the Running-of-the-bulls in Spain (yes people were chased by reindeer)) and numerous dog sled races. A CRAZY week for sure!!!

As I usually do at such events, I managed to pack on a couple LBs even though I skied my heart out. O'well!! One of the nicest things I did was to ski from the resort area back to the hotel. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail is one of the most beautiful coastal trails in the
nation (according to them). The trail gently winds along the coast eleven miles from downtown all the way to the area where we skied. Along with the peace and solitude we found on this trail, it's really cool for V.I. people (and others too). In downtown Anchorage they have a scale representation of the sun (about the size of a nice 4 person tent). About 2 blocks away is a representation of Mercury (the planet) and it's about the size of a small pea (in scale to the sun of course). Supposedly, the time it takes a person to walk from place to place is the same amount of time it takes light to travel between those two points in our solar system. A couple blocks further on is Venus and it's the size of an average pea. The planets continue along the coastal trail with Pluto being just outside the ski lodge. It took me about 2 hours to ski the 17K/11 mile trail and I was skiing faster than a person would walk. It was quite the eye-opener (pun intended). If you ever make it to Anchorage, check it out!!!

Did you know that Alaska is the size of California, Texas and Montana combined? I didn't!

Check out the following link for some real-time video.

Next year SFL International week starts on Sunday January 25th in Granby Colorado. Mark your calendars and start saving your pennies!!!

Hope to see you all there!


April 21, 2013, the Ann Arbor Skyline swim program will be hosting the Sky-Tri Sprint and Mini- Sprint Triathlon at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. This event will be a fundraiser for the Skyline High School swim program.

We are very excited that we were just approved as a "Paratriathlete Friendly" course. This is very exciting for us. Paratriathlon is a fast growing sport and will debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

To make this event a success, they are asking for help and support of community members. They are hoping that you will be able to help with our visuallly impaired athletes as well as with any other paratriathletes who may have some knowledge or expertise.

Here are the details of the event:

Date: Sunday, April 21, 2013
Start Time: 8:00 am
Where: Ann Arbor Skyline High School 2552 North Maple Road, Ann Arbor, MI
Race Capacity: 500

RELAY: Teams of 3, sprint division only

A fundraiser for the Skyline swim program, Sky-Tri is a great early season tri with a pool swim! Perfect for first timers or for those who want to get an early start on the 2013 race season. A mostly flat bike course along scenic Huron River Dr. and a flat and fast run course around school grounds and through Ann Arbor neighborhoods.

For information about this event and registration, please visit our website info page at:

More information about Epic races and our other events can be found at