Skiing is a great and challenging activity for athletes who are blind and visually impaired. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced skier, you will find enjoyment after each run. If you’re new to the sport, start off with a few lessons from the mountain’s adaptive ski program. The time is well spent with a trained adaptive ski guide and instructor. If you’re an advanced skier with a trained guide, be sure to give the resort a call to make sure you’re meeting the requirements of the mountain’s safety program before heading out on the slopes.
If you’re interested in alpine racing, there are four disciplines: downhill, slalom, giant slalom and the super-G. You and your guide will need to join a local racing team to gain additional experience. Check with your local adaptive skiing program about how to start racing.
U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing Athlete and Sport Program Plan
U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skiing Events
U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skiing IPC Licensing
U.S. Paralympics Alpine Facebook page
Make sure you also get to the Nordic Centers and give cross-country skiing a try. Again, a lesson or two will be worth the time to learn the nuances of Nordic skiing. Interested in Nordic skiing & biathlon? Here are some steps to help you get started:
- Download the Team USA Mobile Coach app on your iPhone or Android, or visit the Team USA Mobile Coach page to register for instructional videos on exercises to help you train for biathlon competition.
- Try the sport out – Go to US Paralympics Find a Club webpage to find a Paralympic Sport Club or reach out to your local ski club, biathlon club, or Nordic ski venue and find out ways in which you can give the sport a try.
- Let us know you are out there. Fill out US Paralympics Nordic Survey and/or drop us an email at: USPNordic@gmail.com. We would be excited to hear from you.
- Start training: Join a Nordic ski club, get fit, and sign up for a training camp. Check out a list of events at U.S. Paralympics Nordic Event page.
- Get your National Classification completed. This is done by submitting required paperwork to US Paralympics. Please visit US Paralympics Classification webpage for step by step instructions.
- RACE – challenge yourself and test your skills in a race.
- Start Local: Talk with your local clubs on races* you can do in your area. If you are just getting started, look locally. *If a local race is uncertain of how to integrate visually impaired athletes into their race, please send them this link, or have them email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- USSA races: If you are ready for more competition races you can participate in U.S. Ski Association (USSA), races. Check out the USSA race series found here: USSA Nordic Calendar
- Come to U.S. Paralympics Nordic Skiing Nationals and Ski Festival: Everyone is welcome at this event including experienced athletes, as well as developing athletes. Please check the U.S. Paralympics Nordic Event page for further details.
- Ready to compete at the highest level? Get your World Para Nordic Skiing completion license. Find all that you need to do so at the U.S. Paralympic Nordic website found here.
If you’d like to compete nationally against your peers, the U.S. Paralympic Alpine and Nordic National Championships are events you should consider annually. If you aspire to wear the red, white and blue for Team USA at the Paralympic Games, check out the following resources for information, requirements and opportunities.
U.S. Paralympics Nordic webpage
U.S. Paralympics Nordic YouTube Page
U.S. Paralympics Nordic Facebook page
U.S. Paralympics Nordic Instagram
Jessica Smith, U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing
Martin Benes, Coach
Director, U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing