Types of Adapted Skiing

June 26, 2012

Skiing is one of the most exciting sports for both the able-bodied and for the disabled. Skiing is physically demanding, fast-moving, and thrilling to experience. Adapted skiing requires intense upper body strength, dexterity and reaction times, and can provide one of the most exhilarating experiences available on this earth. So it’s only natural that people with various bodily injuries and disabilities would want to find ways to start or to continue to enjoy this beautiful adapted sport.


Developed for people with spina bifida, multiple lower body amputations, or vertebrae injuries, mono-skiing involves sitting in a specially designed bucket-chair atop a single, central ski. Mono-skiing requires extremely well-developed upper body strength and control, as steering is handled entirely by turning the upper body and using the arms with specially shortened ski poles.


Similar to the mono-ski, bi-skiing involves a seat set atop two skis instead of one. Bi-skiing is for people who have intact lower legs but poor control of their extremities. This can include people with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. Again, it demands significant upper body strength and control to maneuver the rig.


The sit-ski is an earlier version of the mono-ski, the first sitting-ski style of rig developed for people with lower-extremity disabilities. It involves sitting in what amounts to a cross between a narrow sled and a broad ski. It is maneuvered similarly to a mono-ski, though it is more stable than a mono-ski due to a broader base in contact with the snow.

Skiing has a vital and active community, and the adapted skiing world is no different. Skiers understand the difficulty and demands of their sport and are eager to help newcomers get invested in the activity. The disabled skiing community has come up with a variety of techniques and technologies that can help newcomers break into the skiing world with a minimum of difficulty, so anyone who is interested should start looking immediately and enjoy themselves.

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