Disability equipment, for less!

Sit-Ski

DisabledGear.com Buying guide on adaptive all ability sit skiing ski carting (Full Size)

 

In recent years, adaptive skiing has gone the same way as most other sports for people living with disability: it has mushroomed and the choice of equipment has grown to include more and different user needs and levels. If you are new to sit-skiing, the good news is that there is an abundance of great organisations waiting to get you out on the slopes. However, a daunting part of transitioning from organised group skiing to indepence and freedom on the slopes may be knowing what equipment exists and what may be best for you. The obvious bit of advice here is to read up, ask advice of users who have a similar level of disability as you and try items out, BEFORE you part with your cash.

Bear in mind, the main bit of advice I seemed to come across (apart from all the personal likes and dislikes, or individual experiences of parts breaking or proving reliable) is that the buket seat needs to fit properly. To get the maximise your ability with the equipment, consider your seat to be like your ski boot: it has to fit! 

If you are looking to buy your own equipment, I cannot say this enough, do your research and read up on forums what users say about all elements of sit skis including the chair lift loading mechanisms, feet up or feet down positioning styles - which really affect your centre of gravity - strapping and seating styles and shocks (not an exhaustive list!). The type of ski you use will also make a huge difference: on the week I spent in Sweden with The Back-Up Trust, I used a longer, straight ski to learn, because it was said to be more stable, but then they switched me to a carver which gave me so much more manoeuvrability and was really fun.

So what are your options:

Mono-Ski (or sometimes called Uni-Ski): is a moulded bucket seat mounted on suspension bindings to a ski. It is used with out-riggers (little ski poles with a clever flipping mini-ski base, which aids balance and turning when skiing and then flips up so you can use the grippy ends to push along on the flat. These mono sitskis are the adaptive ski equipment which require the most user ability in terms of balance and strength. They are used by people with good use of their arms, e.g.: paraplegics, amputees and some levels of spina bifida, MS, MD, CP.

Praschberger monoski sitski on DisabledGear.com (Full Size)

This photo illustrates a monoski. Shown here is the Prashberger.

Bi-Ski (sometimes called a Dual-Ski) is similar to a mono ski except that, as the name suggests, it is mounted on two skis. The outriggers may be held indepently or fixed to the bi-ski. These may be used by wheelchair users or others with walking / neuro-muscular conditions as these bi-skis provide greater balance and security. Note: with the correct fixings and handles (not shown in the image below) bi / dual-skis can be piloted by an able-bodied person, offering greater flexibiilty in who can use them.

tessier dual ski bi sit ski adaptive disabledgear.com (Full Size)

 Shown here is the Tessier Tempo Dual Ski


Ski Karts (or Ski Carts) as a term seems to cover both solo and duo adaptive skiing depending on the piece of equipment being used. Tessier manufacture the Tandem'Flex which is designed for people who don't have the ability to ski independently. This ski kart has been refined and evolved over many years to provide greater comfort and skiing precision and agility. 

Tessier also produce the KartSki (pictured below) which is for autonomous skiing and has two widely spaced skis for stability. Steering and braking is controlled by one or two handles (depending on user ability and how the Kartski is configured. During the learning stage, a pilot or teacher can tether themselves behind while instructing to ensure safety for the user and other skiers!

tessier Kartski adaptive disabledgear.com (Full Size)

 

Adaptive Nordic Cross Country skiing for those who like effort before reward! These items can be configured in a variety of ways depending on your condition and sporting ability and comfort. Incidentally, for those pre-accident hill-walkers, these can be attached to a wheeled mountain boards for the Summer as cross country skiing has opened up mountain trails, making accessible routes for people with disabilities such as spinal cord injury.


Adaptive cross country nordic sit skiier (Full Size)Adaptive cross country nordic sit skiier amputee (Full Size)

Out Riggers (or Outriggers) are the adaptive ski poles which assist balance and agility. There are a variety on the market from the various manufacturers, varying in materials used and philosophy of how best to use them: agressive / competitive or recreational skiing, user condition and ability, etc..

Adaptive skiing outriggers (Full Size)


European Sit-Ski Manufacturers:
most Europeans will buy either Tessier or Praschberger as they are manufactured in Europe to high build quality and design standards, more readily available than US equipment and are what the top level competitors use.

  • Tessier- Mono/Bo-Ski, Nordic, Ski Karts, Outriggers
  • Praschberger- Mono/Bi-Ski, Nordic, Outriggers, Monorollers for transportation
  • Prodaptive is a Dutch company who have developed the Twinrider: the world's first sit-down snowboard that allows independent riding! It's still in production. However their beginner rig is available to purchase. Visit their website for more details.
     

 

US Adaptive Sit-Ski Equipment Companies

  • Freedom Factory - Mono/Bi-Skis, Snowboards, Snow Slider (for ambulatatory people with balance issues)
  • DynAccess - Mono Ski
  • Enabling Technologies - Mono/Bi-Skis, Nordic Skis, Outriggers
  • Hands On Concepts - Mono/Bi-Skis, Outriggers
  • Strange R&D - Mono-Ski
  • Yetti - Mono-Ski, Outriggers - though I have to say I found this website impossible to use...
  • Teton - Nordic, Mono-Ski Cart - actually a transportation device which the sitskier can remain in while being used! See photo below...
Teton Monoski Cart transportation (Full Size)

Where can you buy Second (2nd) Hand, Used Sit Ski Equipment?

  • DisabledGear.com (of course!)
  • SitSki.com - please note this is a US website.
  • Enabling Technologies - please note this is a US website.
  • Disability Forums such as Apparelyzed.com 
  • [want to recommend a website or feature your own? Just email us with details. This is an impartial website so we're happy to keep adding...]

Where can you read reviews on Sit Ski Equipment?

  • Forums and websites: go to your own disabilty forum and search for reviews and conversations. 
  • SitSki.com 
  • [want to recommend a website or feature your own? Just email us with details. This is an impartial website so we're happy to keep adding...]

There are a number of excellent charities and organisations which are completely geared up to getting people out on the slopes and participating in this exhilarating sport. If you are just starting out on your search to get into - or get back into following inury or trauma - Winter Sports, then talk to these passionate people:

  • Ash Morton is a adaptive ski instructor who can provide lessons and help with resort knowledge and understanding of requirements for skiiers with a disability. He has a website (http://adaptiveski.co.uk/) and a FB page.
  • Ski 2 Freedom "is a charity which provides access to comprehensive information on snow-sport and mountain activities for individuals, groups, families and carers from across the globe. We address the specific needs and requirements of all disabilities and additional needs, allowing beneficiaries to undertake fully tailored, life-enhancing mountain based activities." I have been completely impressed by the clear levels of dedication they have to have produced such a comprehensive and authoritative website and set of guides. Their work hasn't stopped and they have plans to add more detailed levels of information for people with all disabling condition. 
    Find out how Ski 2 Freedom can help: http://www.ski2freedom.com/en/disabled-skiing-europe 
  • Disability Snowsport UK "is a people-centred organisation with a unique sense of purpose: that anyone regardless of their disability can take part in and enjoy the thrill of snowsports. [They] have applied exceptional know-how and adaptability for over 30 years to enable those with a disability to experience the joy of skiing alongside the able-bodied. [They] provide exciting and life enhancing activities for individuals or groups who require adaptive equipment and/or special instruction and support."
  • Crystal Ski Holidays say they offer "knowledgeable recommendations and a bit of extra support ... to hit the slopes and have fun with your family and friends... Flights, transfers and accommodation are included as standard... [They'll] arrange special assistance at the airport and adaptive transfers if needed, plus you can be sure that your accommodation is fully accessible. The ski schools [they] use in each resort have qualified adaptive instructors too."
  • The Back-Up Trust provide services, skills training and courses to help people with spinal cord injuries regain their confidence and independence post-injury. Sit-skiing in Colorado and Kart Skiing in Sweden are two of their courses.
  • Repoint Holidays offer adaptive ski holidays courses and information

  • British Association of Snowsport Instructors run courses in Adpative Snowsports Instruction.

  • La Plagnet - offers a webpage on Adaptive Skiing with links to local companies offering activities and services to people with disabilities.

  • MorzNet - offers a webpage on Adaptive Skiing with links to local companies offering activities and services to people with disabilities.

  • Val Thorens is a French Alps resort who offer information on Accessible Skiiing. Found via a FORWARD magazine article (October 2015 p.38/9). The author stayed at Hameau du Kashmir Hotel with accessible room with en-suite wetroom / roll in shower. It is a ski-in, ski-out hotel so no transport issues. It apparently even has an accessible spa!

  • [want to recommend a website or feature your own? Just email us with details. This is an impartial website so we're happy to keep adding...]

And if you want to go off on your own but would like some specialist sit ski instruction then you can also have a look at these organisations:
 
 
oxygene adaptive ski school logo (Full Size)
 
Oxygène Ski & Snowboard School "is a family-run company with over 20 years’ experience of providing the best in winter sports in La Pagne, Bell Plagne, Val d'Isère and Courchevel. With more than 80 instructors we’re big enough to offer adults' and children's group lessons at every level, every week and small enough to care for every one of our customers.
 
Totalskidskolen adaptive ski school sweden logo black and white (Full Size)
 
Totalskidskolan in Sweden which is in the friendly Swedish resort of Öre and is where I first went sit-skiing with The Back-Up Trust, two and a half years after my accident. It was heaven and as well as feeling invigorated and entertained and healthy, I laughed solidly for a week, returning home having lost my voice!


Other great resources include:

adaptiveskiing.net logo (Full Size)

AdaptiveSkiing.net - These guys need to work on their search engine optimisation. Because when I found them via another more detailed search, I was impressed with the level of information they have. Click on the link and see for yourself. Plus I really like their homepage image!
 
Disabled Sports USA is a U.S. based organisation.
 
Disabled Wintersport Australia can help with all elements of adaptive skiing for its membership in Australia - from lift passes to equipment hire, accommodation and guides, etc..
 
Apparelyzed.com is a fantastic forum for people living with SCI, their friends, carers and partners. The link takes you to just one of many, many threads about sit-skiing. I recommend you use the search function to find other threads if you are interested.
 
Ski Club of Great Britain has a number of articles and advice on skiing with a disability. Catherine Cosby, Director of Ski 2 Freedom, is also the Ski Club's resident 'Ask the Expert' for all enquiries and questions about skiing with a disability or special need.
 

Finally, if you want to read more and be motivated to get off your ass and book that Winter Skiing course or holiday, then have a read and watch of these articles and videos!
  • http://www.outsideonline.com/1784376/what-sit-ski-and-how-does-it-work is a fast paced and captivating article about Paraplegic Josh Dueck who, as well as being a multi medal winning sit-skiing hero, landed the first back-flip in a sit-ski! Watch the video and then read the article. There's a 2nd awesome video on that page as well!
 
  • http://flow.com/wordpress/flow-snowboarding-feature-on-gina-van-der-werf-founder-of-prodaptive/#more-13057 is a good article on the Prodaptive Sit-Snowboard.
affordable ben millen .com canadian sit ski design (Full Size)


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