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President         Ed Durbin

Vic. Pres.        Jason Stanley

Secretary        Mary Koltze

Treasurer        Bill Larson

Director           Vickie Minzel

Director          Mike Chapman

Director          Julie Brandvold

Finance          Scott Sweeny











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Ski for Light Montana was started in 1980 in the image of the volunteer organization Ski For Light, Inc.

The mission of the organization is to teach and help visually impaired adults cross country ski. The program is run in an atmosphere that encourages participants to realize that the only limitation they face is in the disability that they place in themselves.

The event is three days of skiing. We stay at a hotel in West Yellowstone. The area where we ski is within walking distance from the hotel. There is always an ample amount of snow in West Yellowstone. The visual impaired skier is matched up with a guide that serves as the eyes of the skier. They each have a set track to ski in at about 3 feet apart. The guide will instruct the skier in what is coming up in the trail as well as what the area around them looks like.

There also is an event in the summer called Trekk For Light Montana. This event takes place somewhere in the mountain. It also is three days when the participants go hiking or backpacking.

The organization has been able to collect money to pay for all cost to the skiers, and it is hope that enough money will be collected in the future to pay for all participants.

If you are interested in the program and want to take part in it please contact some of the members involved. The president is Ed Durbin, Phone:406-535-2491,Cell:406-366-0491, Email

The skiing events have taken place in several locations in Montana, however the last several years it has taken place in West Yellowstone. There always is snow there and the hotel is within walking distance of the skiing area.

The hiking has mostly been in the Lewistown area. The last several years it has taken place in the Belt mountains and now we are renting a cabin on the Yogo creek. The eating and sleeping is in the cabin and there are many opportunities for hiking close by.

If this program is of any interest to you as a visual impaired or a sighted guide you are invited to come along.

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Trekkers and guides enjoying the great outdoors during the recent Trek for Light are (left to right) Blanche Chapman, Mike Chapman, Stacie Rich, Kelly Thornbury, Anne Orning, Brian Tocher, Ed Durbin, Hans Stokken, Jason Stanley and Jeff Balek. Bill Larson (not pictured) was also a guide, and provided this photograph.


You hike 22 miles over rocks and roots, temperatures in the 90s, sometimes climbing as much a 1,000 feet in a quarter of a mile and ? you are visually impaired. Imagine!
That is what the Trek for Light group did Aug. 13th though Aug. 17th in the Little Belt Mountains, Trek for Light is a group of visually impaired hikers and their guides. Judith Station cabin was the setting for the adventure put together by Ed Durbin, president of the group, Bill Larson and Hans Stokken. Local participants were Stacy Rick, Jason Stanley, Jeff Balek, and Ed Durbin. Those from out of town were Kelly Thornberry and Brian Tocher. The guides included Ann Orning, Hans Stokken, Bill Larson, Mike Chapman and me.

Each morning the trekkers gathered for a he-man type breakfast prepared by Donna Larson, who provided all of the wonderful meals. Hiking began around 10 a.m. Hikers carried a pack with their lunch, water and any other necessary equipment. The terrain was, at times, very challenging regardless of whether or not you were sighted. Yogo Crossing, Wood Chopper Ridge, and Hay canyon were some of the hiking destinations.

Ed Durbin says that besides the hiking experience, the opportunity to get together, meet new friends and trade stories make the trip an exceptional occasion. As for the guides, the experience was very gratifying as well as a great learning experience. I was fortunate to be Ed Durbin?s guide and he trained me well. He encouraged me on how to guide and made me feel like I was doing a good job. At one point I closed my eyes and tried walking. I didn?t last ten seconds.

The trekkers are nothing but courageous. These folks truly know how to enjoy the open road of life.

If you are interested in more information about Trek for Light or would like to make a donation, please contact Ed Durbin at 406-366-0491.


Story by: Blanche Chapman


? 2006 Ski For Light Montana. All rights reserved.