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Program Details


Activities Offered
  • Snow Skiing
Staff Training and Certification
  • Staff Certification:PSIA-Certified and PSIA-trained Instructors

Adaptive Equipment
  • Adaptive equipment available

Membership Fees
  • Fee to participate in the Program :

  • Accessible by Public Transportation: No

  • Transportation Provided by the Program: No


For more than 20 years Colorado Discover Ability (CDA) instructors at Powderhorn have helped individuals - adults and children with various disabilities - learn to ski and snowboard.

Colorado Discover Ability is the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard School at Powderhorn Resort in western Colorado. We have a complete inventory of adaptive equipment for instruction. All our instructors are PSIA-trained (some are PSIA certified) and will provide you with the highest quality lesson possible.

Our snowsports programs are very open and inclusive. We welcome everyone with disabilities, their friends and their families. Participants in our diverse programs come from all walks of life and from all parts of the world.

Ski Programs include:

  • Stand-Up Skiing - Using specialized knowledge and tools, we work from a blueprint established by our students' desires and capabilities and help build a whole new world for those who have never tried skiing or those whose disability has curtailed participation in the sport. Along the way, we help our students build confidence and physical dexterity.

  • Skiing for Individuals with Visual Impairment - When we teach students who are visually impaired, we have a wide variety of equipment options with which to work. Depending upon the extent of your disability or disabilities, we may take advantage of any of a number of devices designed to assist balance and movement while skiing or snowboarding

  • Skiing for Individuals with Developmental and Cognitive Disabilities - The vast majority of students in this category will be skiing two-track, that is, on two skis. With developmental/cognitive disabilities, much of the adaptations will come in the form of presentation. It is of primary importance that we conduct an assessment of a student that will provide us with clues about the adaptive equipment and teaching techniques needed for the first lesson. An appraisal of developmental, cognitive, social, emotional, and learning characteristics will also help us develop the initial teaching plan.

  • Four-Track Skiing - You may be a candidate for four-track skiing if you have mobility impairment that requires the use of outriggers or a walker for stability while skiing. If you usually experience balance problems or general weakness in the lower extremities, you must have at least four points of contact with the snow, i.e., two skis and two outriggers or two skis with a walker. We may connect skis with a ski bra at the tips (a metal device that clamps onto the tips of the skis to keep errant ski tips together) and sometimes a spacer bar between the feet, or you may need your skis connected to a walker on skis for additional stability. You may successfully ski on a monoboard with outriggers. Potential users include those with severe hip problems, full leg braces, and/or high-bilateral amputees who use prostheses.

  • Three-Track Skiing - Three-track skiing is defined as skiing on one ski while using outriggers to maintain balance. Please note the purposeful statement "skiing on one ski" as opposed to "skiing on one leg." It is not uncommon for a skier who is a bilateral amputee to ski on a prosthesis. Many disabilities affect the strength, reflexes, and range of motion of one leg or the other--predisposing a skier for three track skiing. Diseases and accidents may also take their toll on a skier's ability to ski on two legs. A few examples are developmental or muscular diseases that affect one leg, rods or pins in a badly broken leg, a severe knee injury, fused ankles, or a traumatic accident that leaves one leg weak or non-functioning. With or without a sound leg, you will be able to stand on one ski and maintain dynamic balance with the assistance of outriggers. Outriggers provide a three-point balance system, enabling you to maintain dynamic balance while skiing. Whether you will need outriggers, all models provide a range of lengths and adjustments.

  • Mono-Skiing - In adaptive skiing, a mono ski is a piece of sit-down equipment that enables people with disabilities affecting their legs to ski sitting down in a molded seating apparatus, or "bucket," similar to a motorcycle sidecar. The mono-ski is the most difficult piece of sit-down equipment to use because it requires the greatest balance, strength, and coordination. However, it also allows the skier to perform at a higher level than a bi-ski. People with the following disabilities are likely candidates for mono-ski experience: brain trauma, cerebral palsy, double amputee, neuromuscular diseases, post-polio, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury. Within the mono-ski category, there are dozens of designs. At least ten different mono-ski manufacturers sell products in the United States, and a myriad of homemade mono-skis styles exist. CDA has Yetti and Mogul Master mono-skis for its clients. We can provide you with complete ski instruction in one of our mono-skis or, if you already own a mono-ski, you can bring your own. If you don't want any instruction we can provide you with a guide who will assist you in loading/offloading the lift and will stay with you to assist when needed.

  • Bi-Skiing - Bi-skiing is a downhill ski technique whereby you are seated in a device attached to an articulating undercarriage, which is mounted on two uniquely-designed skis. The design of the bi-ski—and abilities of the instructor and yours—will enable you to ski at most ski areas. Bi-ski offers a lot of stability and maneuverability and has a wide appeal to skiers with a variety of disabilities. Bi-skiing is generally regarded as the newest addition to the technique pool of adaptive ski instruction. The bi-ski fills a niche that was created when a mono-skis joined sit-skis as an option for individuals who could not—or chose not to—ski standing up. Affording more stability than a mono-ski and providing more maneuverability than a sit ski, the bi-ski is an idea compromise between the two other types of equipment. Furthermore, bi-skiing's versatility and its wide appeal to skiers with a variety of disabilities, is augmented by a series of design features found on most bi-skis.