The Monday Memo
February 26, 2018 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Winter Fun For Everyone
With the winter Olympics coming to a close, I figured now would be a great time to share what I have learned about adaptive skiing this winter. Three Rivers Adaptive Sports (TRAS) offers individuals with with disabilities the opportunity to participate in skiing and snowboarding along with other sports throughout the year. Adaptive skiing is one of their most popular events, with outings almost every weekend.
Adaptive skiing has equipment that allows for individuals with many disabilities and skill levels to ski the slopes just like the rest of us. Two large categories of equipment can be broken down into individuals who participate either standing or seated. Most skiers begin tethered to an instructor for their safety and the safety of others. As skiers advance their skills they may be able to independently descend the slopes but only need help for loading and off loading the chair lift.
Standing skiers can stand independently or with the assistance of outriggers or ski legs. These might be people with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy or a lower extremity prosthesis. Outriggers are essential forearm crutches with skis on the bottom allowing the skier to have better balance and control, and additional contact points with the ground.These would be used for individuals who have the ability to stand independently and move dynamically without assistance. The ski legs could be likened to a walker on skis. These allow for greater stability and trunk support. The ski instructor also can also control the ski legs with tethers or handlebars.
Seated skis can accommodate those who might have a higher level of disability but that is not always the case. Some of these skiers go down the slopes faster than I can. Others such as single leg amputees might opt for seated skiing because they don’t want to risk injury to their intact leg by skiing standing. Seated skiers sit in a bucket style ski on either a mono or bi ski. The mono-ski allows for greater maneuverability along with that the skier needs a greater amount of trunk control. Bi-skis allow for greater stability and are often used by many first time skiers until they can progress to a mono ski. The bucket of the ski can be unpinned while loading to allow for the skier to be lifted on the lift chair.
Adaptive skiing can be enjoyed by almost anyone allowing them to participate in winter sports. Next time you’re skiing you will have a better idea of what equipment other skiers are using. If you ever want to get involved TRAS is always looking for volunteers to help their skiers. Below are photos of the equipment mentioned above.
Photos: PSIA-E/AASI Adaptive Study Guide: https://www.psia-e.org/download/ed/adaptive-ed/AdaptiveStudyGuide.pdf
-Bobby Jesmer, SPT