Skiers and Equipment

There are many kinds of ski runs for the adaptive skier.

Most people with a physical or cognitive disability can participate, including those with:  

  • Mobility and physical impairments, including those missing limbs
  • A spinal cord disability or injury
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Vision or hearing disabilities
  • Cognitive or learning disabilities

People with an unstable neck or brittle bone disease should not participate for their safety. If you have questions about whether or not you or a loved one can safely participate, please contact us. 

What equipment you use to ski is based on your abilities.

Sit Skis

Those with lower limb issues use sit skis. These skies feature a basket mounted on the ski that positions the skier in the best orientation for skiing from a seated height. Depending on the skier's skill level, side skiers accompany the adaptive skier to provide physical reinforcement, ski instruction and moral support. Some adaptive skiers progress to needing side skier assistance only at take-off or even to not needing side skiers at all. While help is always at hand, the more independently a skier wants to ski, the more the help remains close without impinging. 

Some of the adaptive sit-skiers are able to take the rope and ski so the ski has a block and the rope is adapted with a ball that takes all the stress of getting started. The rope can then be "popped" out of the block so that the skier is in control of the rope and more of the ski run. For those whose upper body cannot handle the rope, the side skiers maintain constant contact with the basket, becoming the force that pulls the skier on the run.

Slalom Skis

Other adaptive skiers can use two skies but the long line (ski rope) is too much of a challenge. For these skiers, there is a boom that is mounted outside of the side of the boat that provides an easier pull than the long line. 

Another adaptation is called a seahorse, which is a device that is attached to the end of the boom and has a rudder that hangs into the water. Its shape gives it its name and the skier is able to "sit" on the seahorse if they need to regain their balance or stability, and then stand again when they are ready. An attendant skier is optional with the boom and seahorse. 

For those who want to use a long line and are just not ready, there's a triple bar. This is a modified ski rope where the handle has been replaced by one that is long enough for three skiers side-by-side. The adaptive skier is flanked on the triple bar by two able-bodied skiers who help with the takeoff and to stabilize and instruct during the run. Able-bodied skiers, strong swimmers and certified boat drivers are always close and ready to assist at any time.

Safety

The safety of our participants, as well as our instructors, crew and volunteers is something we take very seriously. Our program is sanctioned by the USA Water Ski organization and follows their rules and regulations. Here is a listing of our key safety standards: 

  • Two side skiers are provided for each disabled skier
  • All instructors are USA Water Ski Certified Instructors and Divers
  • All side skiers are Red Cross certified lifeguards
  • Safety equipment, including ski equipment and life vests, is provided
  • Volunteers rotate through the positions (dock, in-water start, in-boat safety, chase boat, landing) to keep everyone fresh and ready

If you have questions about your specific situation or want to discuss the experience ahead of time, please contact us. 

Ski with Us

Please come join us for a day on the lake. Sign up for an upcoming event, or contact us to learn more. 

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