Monday, December 3, 2012

Adaptive Snowboarding

Guest Post from Chauncey McCarthy, DCR Universal Access Program's Equipment Specialist. Chauncey is a snowboarder, so I asked him to research adaptive snowboarding so more of us could understand how it works. Thanks Chauncey! Don't miss the inspiring video at the end of his post!

World class adaptive snowboarder Nicole Roundy is training
for the 2014 Winter Paralympic snowboarding team. Follow
her progress at
Snowboarding is a great way to escape from the distractions of life and connect with nature and friends. There is nothing better than the sensation of carving down the slopes on a nice winter day, or surfing the powder after a snowstorm. Even the chairlift ride can be a great time to catch up with old friend or make new ones. The mountain community is a great place to spend time and make memories.

Snowboarding has come a long way since its start in the 1970s. As the sport has progressed so has the equipment and the range of people it can serve. Adaptive snowboarding is now more available and is offered at many ski resorts.

Adaptive snowboarding can serve a wide range of different disabilities but not all - if the person does not have the ability to stand or walk adaptive downhill skiing would be the right alternative. Currently there is not a sit snowboard available for widespread use.


Ski resorts are able to accommodate people with different disabilities by using a wide range of snowboarding adaptations and teaching styles. New snowboarders should plan on using a tradition snowboard setup. Depending on the rider's disability they will be outfitted with different adaptive equipment. Often this includes ski poles or outriggers to help increase balance. Outriggers can also be used for someone with limited muscular control or strength.

Snowboard lesson using Sno-wing.
The Sno-wing is an adaptive training tool that goes over the rider and attaches around their waist. The instructor can then control the ring that is around the rider helping the rider control the board while getting a better feel for the equipment and how to maintain balance.

A rider bar is another adaptation that is available to someone with low balance or a lower extremity disability. This is a bar that is attached to the toe edge of the snowboard creating a place the rider can hold onto while snowboarding. As the snowboarder progresses through the learning period their instructor might also use a tether to help control the board.

Using a rider bar.
If this has spiked your interest in adaptive snowboarding there are many mountains in the New England area that offer this service.

Ability Plus offers adaptive snowboarding at Mount Snow (West Dover, Vermont) and Attitash (Mount Washington Valley, NH)

New England Handicapped Sports Association runs adaptive snowboarding at Mount Sunapee, NH

Stride Adaptive Sports provides adaptive snowboarding lessons at Jiminy Peak Ski Area (Hancock, MA)

New England Disabled Sports offers adaptive snowboarding lesson a Loon Mountain (Lincoln, NH)


Meb said...

What a great guest post.
And what an amazing story beautifully told and photographed in that video.
People helping people is so powerful and healing.
Thanks, Meb

Meb said...

Great guest post!
Beautifully told story w/ great photography in short format, that video was really well done.
When people help people it makes us all better.
Thanks, Meb