Introduction to Alpine Skiing
|Courtesy of Disabled Sports USA & Tyler Stableford|
Benefits of the Sport
Alpine skiing provides a great outlet for physical activity during the winter months. It requires proper training, speed, and agility. Precision movements in combination with body control excel in this sport, the mastery of which is very evident at the Paralympic level. It is a great sport for both thrill seekers and competitors alike. Particularly for individuals who grew up on the slopes, Alpine skiing provides a way for individuals to continue to enjoy the slopes even after injury.
Alpine skiing in the Paralympics hosts competition for male and female athletes with a physical disability. The specific types of physical disabilities include spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, les autres conditions, and visual impairment/blindness. Athletes use adaptive equipment to participate in the sport such as sit skis, single skis, and prosthetic aids. Athletes with a visual impairment or blindness are guided through the course by sighted guides and signals.
Athletes compete in Alpine skiing using skis and poles. If an athlete is unable to stand they compete in a sit ski. A sit ski is designed to be very aerodynamic and has built in shock absorbers. Individuals who use a sit ski may also use outriggers which are similar to ski poles but they have a larger base of support at the bottom. Single leg skiers may also choose to use outriggers over traditional ski poles. Outriggers assist skiers with balance, turns, and speed control. Other equipment skiers may use includes a single ski and orthopedic aids such as prosthetics.