Using specialized knowledge and tools, we work from a blueprint established by our students' desires and capabilities and help build a whole new world for those who have never tried skiing or those whose disability has curtailed participation in the sport. Along the way, we help our students build confidence and physical dexterity.
Throughout this web site, we use the terms "instructor" and "student" because this is the most common situation. However, the reality is much different. Often, the people with whom we share all or part of our day at the slopes already have impressive physical skills and unbridled courage. What they may lack, however, is the ability to ski or snowboard alone or to use standard "off-the-shelf" equipment. In those case, we are not so much an instructor as a guide, and they are less students than guests, clients, and partners.
Just as often, we find that we are the students. Our key to success, and that of our students or guests, is to treat each lesson as an opportunity to learn about the person and the disability, how to best build confidence and understanding, and what combinations of teaching tools and progressions can most effectively lead to the common goals of fun, safety, and realistic skill development.
The "Intellectual Disabilities" category encompasses techniques for working with people who need special behavioral or educational assistance.
The "visual impairments" category addresses the adaptations of behavior or equipment that enable the blind or partially sighted student to ski.
Standing skiers with disabilities may use one, two, three or
skiing techniques. These techniques often use "outriggers" for balance and are named for the number of tracks left in the snow. Snowboarding is also available.
All skiers benefit from using appropriate and properly fitted equipment, but it is especially important that adaptive skiers be outfitted correctly because their equipment can help compensate for their disability. We carefully examine, assess, and modify student's equipment and clothing because proper outfitting is the key to both comfort and the ability to move efficiently.
The other categories relate to the type of equipment that the skier will use and the special teaching progressions that may be warranted. Three-track and four-track refer to stand-up skiing using either two skis (four-track) or one ski (three-track), along with two outrigger poles. Mono-ski and bi-ski refer to types of sit-skiing equipment in which a molded seating apparatus (or "bucket") is mounted to either one (i.e., mono-ski) or two (i.e., bi-ski) skis. Outriggers are used for sit-skiing as well.