Winter Programs Adaptive Snowsports - Skiing - Snowboarding - Racing

Skiing and Snowboarding for People with Intellectual Disabilities

We offer classes that cover everything from beginner lessons to advanced tips for seasoned skiers and riders.
ski | snowboard | snowshoe

Full Day: 10 - 3
Half Day: 10 - 12 or 1 - 3
OR CALL 970-257-1222
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First Run

Jack coaching a student on the beginner slopes.

The vast majority of students in this category will be skiing two-track, that is, on two skis. With developmental/cognitive disabilities, much of the adaptations will come in the form of presentation.

It is of primary importance that we conduct an assessment of a student that will provide us with clues about the adaptive equipment and teaching techniques needed for the first lesson. An appraisal of developmental, cognitive, social, emotional, and learning characteristics will also help us develop the initial teaching plan.

Lateral Learning

Both developmental disabilities and cognitive impairments interrupt a person's usual development. To provide quality adaptive lessons, it is necessary for us (the instructors) to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of human development.

The teaching progression for developmental and cognitive disabilities closely follows the progressions set by the Professional Ski Instructors of America. However, we also benefit from familiarity with the behavior modification techniques and teaching alternatives.

Using Fun, Games, and Props for Learning

Props can offer great assistance and help establish physical boundaries for the student. We may use the following props:

  • tennis balls cut in half to demarcate slalom courses
  • traffic cones
  • a hula hoop
  • a frisbee
  • a ball to toss
  • food dye in squeeze bottles (combined with water to mark route)
  • small slalom gates
  • small flags on straws or wires
  • a communication card, which can assist with non-verbal students
  • a teaching environment made up of props (e.g., a terrain garden)

Becky & Carrie having fun on the slopes in a bi-ski.

Lori and Terry on the slalom course.
click to enlarge
Martin guiding a student through his first steps.
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.