Program Spotlight - Three Trackers of Ohio ... Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
Once again, winter has arrived! And when there's winter, snow is not too far behind (at least for some areas). For Ohio, especially in the northern part, snow is a sure thing! When the month of December hits, some individuals will think of the long winter season, but others will think ... Ski Season.
Ohio may not have any mountains, but it makes do. This month's program spotlight focuses on an organization that provides the fun and exhilarating experience of skiing for people with disabilities.
Three Trackers of Ohio is a volunteer non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of adaptive recreational sports for persons with and without physical disabilities. The organization began over 20 years ago, when several people with lower limb amputations decided they wanted to share their passion for downhill skiing. It originally started as a social group, focused only on skiing for people that could stand.
The term 'Three Trackers' comes from the impression or tracks that a skier with a lower-limb amputation leaves in the snow (one ski and two outriggers).
Today, with the advancements in equipment and techniques for adaptive skiing, Three Trackers of Ohio can provide ski lessons to people with varying levels of abilities and various types of disabilities. Its dedicated and skilled volunteers provide individualized instruction for each participant.
Ski season lasts for the months of January and February and sometimes until March, depending on the weather. Lessons are given twice a week (Tuesdays and Sundays) and last for about 3 hours each at Brandywine Ski Resort in Sagamore Hills, Ohio. There is no charge for lessons, but participants do need to pay for their half-day lift tickets, which are only $30. Adaptive skiers receive two half-day lift tickets, one for the skier and the second for a ski 'buddy' - the instructor's helper.
Here are the three main types of adaptive techniques:
Sit-down skiing consists of either a mono-ski or a bi-ski.
- A mono-ski has only a single ski and two 'hand-held' outriggers. This requires good balance and fair to good upper-extremity strength and coordination.
- Bi-Ski uses two skis and can also include two fixed outriggers (outriggers that attach directly to the ski for stability) or two hand-held outriggers for people that are able to hold them in their hands.
- Mono-Ski allows the greatest level of independence on the slopes, but it is the most difficult to master. The bi-ski is easier to learn, but does require more assistance from the instructor and/or ski buddy.
- A tether line is sometimes used for either the mono-ski or the bi-ski for added safety; the decision is usually made by the instructor.
Stand-up skiing consists of using typical ski gear and usually hand-held outriggers in place of ski poles.
- 'Three-Track' skiing is usually for people missing one leg. Their remaining ski and their two hand-held outriggers leave three tracks in the snow.
- 'Four-Track' skiing is for people with fair to good leg strength who can stand and/or walk. Three- and four-trackers will need to rent equipment or bring their own, but they can use other adaptive equipment (such as hand-held outriggers) at no charge.
Blind skiing is for people with various levels of vision impairment. The adaptive skier usually uses normal rental equipment.
In addition to snow skiing and now snowboarding, Three Trackers also has an adaptive water ski program and holds an annual whitewater rafting trip.
If you would like more information on Three Trackers of Ohio, go to http://www.3trackers.org or call 800-U-SKI-241.
Check out video footage in this February, 2010 news story about Three Trackers: http://www.wkyc.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=130338