Disability - Start Skiing and Boarding
No matter what your disability there is no excuse for staying off the slopes. Most slopes and clubs have facilities for disabled skiers. There have been many advances in equipment in recent years which has made the sport even more accessible for anyone who wants to have a go.
Equity Policy Statement (SSE Equality Policy 2010)
"Snowsport England will ensure that everyone who wishes has an equal opportunity to participate in all disciplines of snowsports at all levels and in all roles, whether as a participant, coach, manager, volunteer or official in the sport or as an employee within Snowsport England and its constituent parts. "
Basic adaptive skiing methods and equipment:
Individuals use one ski and two outriggers, which are forearm crutches with ski tips mounted to the bases. Primarily used by people who have one stronger leg. Disabilities might include leg amputations, post-polio or trauma that affects primarily one leg.
Individuals use two skis and outriggers or a walker. A metal "ski bra" or a bungee cord between skis often gives more control to feet and legs. Outriggers and walkers help people with lack of lateral control; inability to walk without assistance of crutches, cane, etc.; tendency to fall forward, walk on toes or lean heavily on crutches or walker; or pronounced backward lean.
Disabilities might include cerebral palsy, post polio, spina bifida, arthrogryposis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, congenital defect or traumatic injury.
Individuals ski in a rigid seat mounted to two asymmetrically cut skis. Some students use hand-held outriggers, while others ski with fixed outriggers attached to the bi-ski. This equipment provides greater stability than a mono-ski and is used by 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.
Individuals sit in a moulded seat that is mounted to a single ski and use hand-held outriggers. The mono-ski is the most difficult sit-down equipment to use because it requires the greatest balance and strength. It is designed for people with double amputations and spinal cord injuries.
Other disabilities might include spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
For those with Visual Impairment, a sighted Guide is needed. For lesser impairment the guide may simply need to ski a short distance in front of the skier to show the way. Skiers with greater vision loss or who are totally blind will generally ski using a bluetooth headset arrangement to give audible instruction. Visually Impaired skiers and guides are advised to wear high visibility bibs marked with “Blind Skier” or “Guide” to alert other skiers on the mountain and to also aid the skier to be able to spot the guide on the hill.
The British Disabled Ski Team (BDST) is part of Disability Snowsport UK (DSUK). The BDST also administer licences and race entries for competitions as well as providing coaching and assistance to disabled learners and racers. The BDST acts under powers delegated by British Ski and Snowboard (BSS), who are responsible for all British competitive alpine ski teams.
The British team and development team race in the World cup and Europe cup competitions. The team attends Squad training throughout the year.
For more information about how to start skiing or to get involved, please contact:
Lions, Kendal, Midlands, Norwich, Gloucester, Exeter and Southern Disabled Ski Clubs offer opportunities for those with disabilities. See Find a Club for more information.