Adaptive skiing has become a popular sport for people with disabilities. Using adaptive equipment, adults, children and veterans with disabilities shush through the snow alongside family and friends. You can rent the special equipment at skiing facilities that are open to those with disabilities.
A good instructor will fit beginners with adaptive equipment and help you practice on the bunny slope (flat area) and before getting on the lift and hitting the powder.
To choose an accessible ski resort or local mountain, the National Sports Center for the Disabled offers this advice:
- Ski instructors should be PSIA certified (Professional Ski Instructor of America)
- Instructor should conduct a personal evaluation of your goals and specific needs
- Ask what the lesson includes (rental equipment, lift ticket, etc.)
- Are there accessible buildings and how do I get to and from the slopes?
For more information, visit the following sites or Google “adaptive ski program,” “adaptive ski camp” or “disabled skiing.”
- Adaptive Adventures (adaptiveadventures.org) is a nonprofit organization that visits more than 10 mountains annually across the U.S.
- The Gateway Disabled Ski Program in St. Louis, Missouri (gdsp.org/), home to the annual Bill Bowness Ski Clinic, takes place the second week in January. This clinic is free to participants, as they help volunteers and instructors hone their skill and achieve certifications in adaptive skiing.
- The Courage Center (couragecenter.org) in Duluth, Minnesota is home to the Mono-ski Madness Camp, the largest mono-ski camp in the Midwest for people with disabilities. In February, the camp brings together skiers and instructors from across the Midwest to work with mono-skiers to advance their skiing abilities.
If you don’t live next to a mountain, Google “adaptive skiing” or “disabled skiing” for the closest opportunity to you. Many are in Colorado, but they exist in most of the colder states from New York to California.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible vehicle, please consider one of our mobility equipment dealers.