Adaptive skiing for disabled winter sports enthusiasts

Added 02/12/2010

Man in wheelchair

If you are disabled and you want to have a go at winter sports, then adaptive skiing could be the answer to a successful trip on the slopes. Adaptive skiing techniques have allowed many disabled winter sports enthusiasts to enjoy the mountains.

Depending on your disability, there are different techniques and pieces of equipment that you can try — you just have to choose the right type to suit you and your disability.

Three track skiing is a type of adaptive skiing that ensures single amputees with one strong leg can navigate the slopes. The skier has an ordinary ski attached to their good leg, and then mini skis attached to the end of special outrigger poles.

Four track skiing is a similar concept, but the skier has two skis. They can also make use of what is referred to as a ‘ski bra’ — a kind of brace that holds the two skis together to create more control for people with prosthetic legs or reduced mobility.

For people that want to try adaptive skiing but they aren’t able to stand, the use of a bi-ski or a mono-ski could be the answer. A bi-ski is a moulded seat attached to two parallel skis that is suited to wheelchair users, people with spinal cord injuries, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.

The mono-ski is a similar contraption with only one ski and allows greater freedom and movement on the slopes. People that are first introduced to the sit down adaptive skiing are usually started on a bi-ski before moving onto the mono-ski.

If you want to have a go at adaptive skiing, find a resort that provides the necessary equipment and tuition and give it a go this winter. Don’t forget to buy travel insurance that includes cover for winter sports and declare any medical conditions that you might have.