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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Adaptive Equipment

National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic


Man using a Mono-ski.

The mono-ski is a single ski mounted to a frame with a seat and a foot rest. There are a variety of mono-skis out on the market, ranging from beginner to competitive skiers. The skier uses specifically designed outriggers (forearm crutches with ski tips attached) to steer the mono-ski. The mono-ski allows individuals who are paraplegic, amputees, leg problems and other diagnoses the ability to ski independently or with some assistance and provides the same exhilarating feeling and contact with snow at that enjoyed by stand-up skiers.


Man using a bi-ski.

The bi-ski has two independent skis attached to an articulator, which is mounted to the frame, seat and footrest. The bi-ski can be steered by using outriggers (forearm crutches with ski tips attached), power bar or an instructor can use the instructor bar attached to the back to assist with steering. The bi-ski also comes with adjustoable fixed riggers which can be added near the base to improve balance/stability. This technology has allowed people with more severe injuries, including quadriplegics, to experience the thrill of skiing.

Three-Track Ski

Man using a three-track ski.

Three-track skiing is for people with one leg and two arms or prosthetics.. Three-track skiers use one regular Alpine ski and adaptive equipment called outriggers (forearm crutches with ski tips attached) to assist with balance. Three-track skiing derives its name from the three tracks made in the snow by the two outriggers and the single ski. The emergence of shape ski technology has been instrumental in teaching three-track skiing by making it much easier to turn.

Four-Track Ski

Man using a four-track ski.

Four-track skiing is used by people with a wide range of disabilities who have two legs and arms, natural or prosthetic, and are capable of standing independently or with the aid of outriggers to assist with balance. Two regular Alpine skis and two outriggers are used, creating the four tracks. The emergence of shape ski technology has been instrumental in teaching four-track skiing, by making it much easier to turn.

Sighted Guide (for Visually Impaired, Alpine)

Skier acting as a guide for a blind skier.

Visually impaired skiers must learn the same skills as able-bodied skiers before heading down the slope and must practice those basic skills – turning, slowing and stopping. Visually impaired downhill skiers always ski with guides who follow behind to watch what is happening ahead and using clear, brief commands such as “turn right” or “stop,” guide the skier down the mountain.

Guide or Preset Tracks in the Snow (for Visually Impaired, Nordic)

Cross-country skiing is well suited for persons with visual impairments. Two sets of parallel tracks allow the skier and guide to ski side-by-side, while the guide provides instruction. When a well-marked track is available, some blind skiers manage unassisted, as long as a sound device (such as a bell) can note when a circuit is complete or warn about a difficult track ahead.

Brief History of Adaptive Ski Equipment

Adaptive ski equipment has evolved over the past 30 years, starting out with a sled where participants sat in a sled (shaped like a side car on a motorcycle, no ski) with pics (which resembled big ice pics) to help them steer down the mountain. Over the past 20 years the adaptive ski industry has improved the equipment using better technology by putting skis, shocks, lift mechanisms, improved seating and footrests on the new equipment. The new technology has given people with disabilities the opportunity to ski independently or ski with minimal assistance, along with giving the participant a more comfortable ride down the mountain.

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