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Adaptive Snow Sports: Types and Information

  • Synopsis: Last Revised/Updated: 2017-12-24 - Information and news regarding adaptive winter snow sports including skiing snowboarding and sledge hockey for persons with a disability.


Our Disabled World adaptive snow sports section is aimed at enhancing the lives of people with disabilities through adaptive snow sports and winter recreational opportunities.

Adaptive Snow Sports use adapting equipment and lessons and provide accessible support systems to allow people with a wide range of disabilities to take to the snow and experience the freedom of snow sports in the least restrictive manner possible. Winter sports such as adaptive snow skiing, snowboarding, and a variety of sit-ski options are available to people with disabilities.

Today there are many places in which a person with a disability can learn adaptive snow sports whether it's skiing or snowboarding. The chosen snow sports are determined both by the person's disability and their preference. Adaptive snow sports can be divided into 4 main disciplines including:

Alpine Skiing

Adaptive skiing enables skiers with disabilities to participate in alpine skiing by using special equipment. Alpine skiing is one of the most exciting and challenging sport there is. Blind skiers can race with a guide. The skiers follow in the tracks of the guides.

Sit skiing

Skiing is adapted in many ways to suit the individual. Mono-skiing or "sit"-skiing provides a seat attached to a wide, single ski. Ski poles for steering and balance are shortened to three feet long. Any organization offering adaptive skiing will also offer training and equipment to learn in safety.

Adaptive Snowboarding

A type of snowboarding that is becoming popular for those with physical disabilities is Adaptive Snowboarding. Snowboarding allows partially disabled sportsmen and women to participate in the sport. Although Adaptive Skiing has been around for a while, many people are just starting to become aware of this winter sport. Above knee amputees will ride with a little rigging to their prosthetic and possibly using outriggers. People with partial paralysis can use restrictive knee braces and outriggers to shred down the hill. Paraplegics will have a ride that is kind of like a mono ski.

Cross Country Skiing

A winter sport popular in Northern Europe, Canada and Alaska. The popularity of the sport has also been quickly growing in the United States and in Australia.

Adaptive snow sports such as Nordic skiing provide excellent aerobic exercise and balance development for stand-up and sit-down skiers. Nordic skiing is a winter sport that encompasses all types of skiing where the heel of the boot cannot be fixed to the ski. This includes a wide range of ski equipment and techniques such as classic and skate cross country skiing, ski jumping, biathlon, and telemark skiing. Nordic skiing is probably one of the most vigorous cardiovascular exercises among adaptive winter sports. Many hand-cyclists, sledge hockey players, and other athletes with disabilities use a cross-country sit-ski to increase their physical conditioning.

Quick Facts: Adaptive Snow Sport

Adaptive snow sports allows people with disabilities to enjoy the freedom of movement and the outdoors with the aid of special equipment and instructors trained for each disability. As adaptive snow sport grows in popularity many new options in winter sports equipment and adaptive teaching aids will increase.

Latest Adaptive Snow Sports Publications

1 : Adaptive Skiing: General Overview : Disabled World.

2 : Ice Sledge Hockey: General Information : Disabled World.

3 : Adaptive Snowboarding (Para-snowboarding) Information : Disabled World.

4 : Guide to North American Adaptive Skiing Resorts : Ben Walker.

5 : Alpine Skiing Video Clip from the International Paralympic Committee : International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

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