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The following materials are published and used by CDA as outlines for conducting continued education clinics.

Four-Track Skiing, A Clinic Outline

December 2003



The following are some examples of disabilities that may require a person to four-track. You will be responsible for more information.

Cerebral palsy (CP) - a non-progressive condition resulting from damage to the brain, before, at, or shortly after birth. There is a wide range of severity and effects. Main types are spastic, athetoid and ataxic.

Spina Bifida (Open spine) - Congenital birth defect where part of the spinal cord forms outside of the spine. The site of the lesion determines what damage occurs. May have a shunt from the head.

Spinal Cord Injury - Injury to the spinal cord, causing partial or complete loss of sensation and function below the level of injury. Amputation - partial or total loss of limb(s). Can be congenital, from trauma, or from disease.

Brain Injury - An injury to the brain, including strokes and cancer, where damage occurs. Resulting symptoms are determined by which section of the brain is affected. Effects can be physical, cognitive, social and/or emotional.

Post-Polio - Impaired muscle control due to poliomyelitis.

Progressive Diseases - Disabilities whose symptoms progress during the course of a person's life.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - A progressive disease of the central nervous system in which the myelin sheath, the coating around the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, is damaged.

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) - A progressive disease in which the muscles deteriorate.


Always check to see what medication(s), if any, student is taking. If you do not recognize a medication, find out specifically what it is and what the side effects are before skiing with that student. Medications are grouped by what they treat (classes). Some medications have dual purposes.


Type Examples Uses
Analgesic Percoet, Naprosyn relieves pain and discomfort
Anti-Cholinergic Daricon, Ditropan controls bladder spasms
Anti-Coagulant Coumadin, Heparin blood clot prevention
Anti-Convulsant Dilantin, Phenobarbitol, Clonopin controls seizures
Anti-Emetic Phenergan, Vistaril controls nausea and vomiting
Anti-Inflammatory Decadron, Motrin, Advil, Naprosyn, Indocin swelling, joint pain, arthritis, gout
Anti-Spasmodic Dantrium, Valium relieves muscle spasms
Sedative (also known as a tranquilizer) Valium, Thorazine reduces agitation, anxiety


The instructor must assess and anticipate any complications related to a specific disability and the environment, especially medication variations due to environment, physiological or psychological changes.


A medical history should contain a written evaluation of a student's abilities. Using this as a guideline, an on-site, practical assessment is completed prior to skiing. Appropriate equipment can then be chosen.

Practical Assessment

Student evaluation allows the instructor to get an idea of general and current function. Things to look for in the assessment include:


Use the above evaluations to choose the appropriate equipment. Equipment needs will vary with each individual. Possible needs are:


Written and practical assessment can help determine teaching technique. Remember, just because some aspect of the body does not function, does not mean the brain does not function. Use appropriate teaching styles for the student's learning style. Mechanically, start with what the ski is doing and how an able-bodied person accomplishes that movement, and then adapt the students' body movements to allow them to get their skis to perform. Stay as close to able-bodied movements as physically and psychologically possible to minimize extraneous motion. Often a more direct, hands-on approach is needed to accomplish this. Some examples of assists are:

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