While skiing and snowboarding is a physical pastime, it does not mean that it is a sport that cannot be enjoyed just as much by the less able-bodied.
Although being a disabled skier does mean that there are a few things that you need to take into consideration – such as parking, instructors, equipment and facilities – there are several resorts that strive to ensure disabled skiers can take full advantage of the slopes. These are the best ski resorts for disabled skiers:
La Plagne, France
This resort does a great deal to cater to as many different disable skiers as possible. The Ski School Oxygene is just one of several companies operating within the resort, with the equipment and experience needed for almost anyone to enjoy skiing. Their adaptive ski programme offers sit-ski sessions for those who need wheelchairs, as well as dualskis and taxi skis for individuals with limited independence or movement to enjoy the sensation of skiing while piloted by another skier.
The ski slope Aime 2000 is part of the La Plagne resort and is especially accessible for those with mobility issues. As well as offering good parking, the facilities and lifts are designed to be sit-ski friendly.
As the home to the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games, you can be confident that Whistler does a great deal to support skiers of all ages with disabilities. While it is good to know that the town itself has hotels, restaurants and shops that are accessible for multi-abled holiday-makers, it is the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program that will make disabled guests feel especially welcome.
This non-profit society provides year-round recreation programs that are designed to introduce people with disabilities to sport. Boasting a full range of programs, coaches and facilities, the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program can offer lessons in alpine skiing, ski racing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing and more, with specialised equipment for many types of adaptive standing and sit-skiing. Their coaching caters for those with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities.
Winter Park, USA
As the home of the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) – an organisation that has been providing ski lessons for disabled people since 1970 – the Winter Park Resort in Colorado is a top-notch choice for a less-abled skier.
Recognised as the world’s premier therapeutic recreation organisation, the NSCD offers a year-round variety of recreational activities, including alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, ski racing and more for individuals with almost any physical, cognitive, emotional or behavioural disability.
Needless to say, this also means that the resort offers plenty of disabled parking, a number of accessible ski areas and a range of services for disabled skiers.