How to Ski for Paraplegics

Reading time: 2 minutes

Let’s not waste time.

You want to ski, you’re wheelchair bound, and you don’t know where to start.

First step, take inventory of yourself. How much money are you willing to spend? Are you able to take an airline (physically and financially)? How far are you willing to drive? Where do you live? (close to a big ski town?)

If you’re in a wheelchair, you’ll use a sit-ski. Sit-skis are expensive.

Anyone could get a decent pair of skis for about $400, but that won’t get you anywhere if you’re looking to buy a sitski.
Along with owning your own sit-ski comes with moving it around and maintenance, which is only worth it if you live in the alps and ski everyday.

A sit-ski will be similar to a wheelchair, but with no wheels, a ski underneath, and you’ll be using outriggers (poles with skis on the bottom).

The first official step, after answering those questions above, is to find where the popular ski hills are around you. For me, in the USA, I looked at states such as Colorado. It’s important that you find a prestigious ski hill, because along with the popularity comes money, and with money comes the funding for an adaptive program.

In your search, it will be best to search a string of words like so: “adaptive ski program” + “city” or “state” + “ski hill (if you know one)”

The adaptive programs are able to teach you how to ski, let you rent a sit-ski, and have instructors to help you.

No matter what you can or can’t do, you can ski.

There are sit-skis with a single ski and double. You can control the outriggers or have the, attached similar to how training wheels on a bike would be attached. This is a great thing, really. Because if you don’t have enough core control to keep yourself stable, then you have have these outriggers attached and just enjoy the ride.

What do you bring with you?

  • Many layers.
  • Look at this post about pants
  • Then look at base layers
  • Get snowpants
  • Get good winter boots
  • Have a good jacket (or some base layers and a hoodie)
  • You’ll need good gloves
  • And wool socks.

Once you get to the hill, the people helping you should have enough experience to guide you through the rest.

Overdeliver: Here are links to get you started, if you’re in the USA:

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