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No Disability Need Stop a Determined Skiier

Posted on 09 November 2012

Skiing doesn’t exactly jump out at you when you think of sports that are enjoyed by disabled people. But as the Paralympics show us time and time again, anything is possible if we have the will and the determination to make it so. But when it comes to disabled skiingm (like many other sports) will and determination aren’t always going to be enough, in some cases support and or special equipment will be needed, which is why it is also known as adaptive skiing.

Adaptive Skiing for the Deaf/Blind

This is adaptive skiing which does not need any special equipment. Deaf and blind or partially so people simply ski with specially trained guides.

Adaptive Skiing with Physical Disabilities

Three-track:

This is a piece of equipment with one ski and two outriggers (basically crutches with skis on the bottom – arm-skis). This allows people who have only one leg, or one strong leg, including those who have had a leg amputated due to trauma or the likes of Polio etc, to ski effectively.

Four-track:

This is basically the same as the three-track, but with two foot-skis and two outriggers (arm-skis). The system also allows for a metal ski-bra between the skis to prevent them from wandering or crossing. This system is ideal for those with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or any other disability or traumatic injury causing lack of lateral control or the inability to walk without crutches or canes, and/or the tendency to walk on toes, lean or even fall forward.

Mono-ski:

This is the most difficult of the adaptive skiing methods that are suitable for those in a wheelchair or who find it difficult to walk even on crutches or a cane, because it requires the greatest balance and strength. The skiier sits in a moulded seat mounted onto a single ski via a specially built frame including shock-absorbing capabilities, and uses two handheld outriggers for balance and turning.

The mono-ski is designed for people with double amputations and spinal cord injuries. Other disabilities might include spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. The mono-ski is designed so the skier can independently load onto the chairlift. This provides the opportunity for an independent ski experience. A mono-skier can achieve a very high skill level and ski some of the most challenging terrain.

Bi-ski:

Similar to the mono-ski but with 2 asymmetrically cut skis. The bi-ski is easier than the mono-ski because it provides a greater level of stability. Bi-skiiers can either use handheld outriggers or outriggers mounted onto the seat, with the latter including the use of a handlebar. However, while skiiers using handheld outriggers can ski alone, those using the mounted outriggers must be tethered to a ski-instructor.

Bi-skiing is suited to people who use wheelchairs or ambulate with difficulty using crutches, canes or walkers. Disabilities might include cerebral palsy, brain injuries, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, multiple amputations.

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