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Winter Sports


How the Sport Works

Adaptive hockey is a new, up-and-coming sport for athletes who are blind and visually impaired. Though not yet on the Paralympic Winter Games program, the International Blind Ice Hockey Federation (IBIH) was created in 2015 to lead the development of the sport and recruit international participation.

Modifications made to make hockey accessible for athletes who are blind and visually impaired include:

  • A puck that makes noise and is bigger and slower than the traditional puck.
  • The athlete with the lowest vision (approximately 10% or less) plays defense or goalie.
  • Goal nets are 3 feet high to keep the puck low and near the ice.
  • Teams must complete one pass prior to being able to score in the attacking half of the rink. This provides both the low vision defense and the goalie an extra opportunity to track the puck.
  • The game is played with standard International Ice Hockey Federation safety protocols including no-touch icing and crease violations.
  • All players must wear full protective gear including face mask.

If you’re interested in trying blind hockey, we encourage you to attend one of the “Try Blind Hockey” sessions hosted across the country. “Try” events are listed on the USABA Events Calendar as information is provided.

Once you’re solid on ice skates and have a good feel for the basics of the game, get involved with one of the established teams listed below and attend a tournament to develop your competition skills.

New York Metro Blind Hockey
Washington Wheelers Blind Hockey Club (Washington, D.C.)
Hartford Braillers Blind Hockey Club (Connecticut)
NY Nightshade Hockey for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Chicago Blackhawks Blind Hockey
Pittsburgh Blind Hockey
St Louis Blues Blind Hockey
Denver Blind Hockey

The sport of Blind Hockey is governed in the United States by USA Hockey. Currently, there are two major annual competitions for the sport of Blind Hockey in the United States: the USA Hockey – Blind Hockey Summit which takes place in the fall, and the USA Hockey Disabled Festival – Blind Hockey Division which takes place in the spring.


International Blind Ice Hockey Federation
USA Blind Hockey Facebook Page


Matt Morrow
Executive Director, Canadian Blind Hockey Association
(604) 812-6786

Brandon Beaver
Manager of Disabled Hockey, USA Hockey
(719) 576-8724 x113


How the Sport Works

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.

Alpine Resources

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: 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:
    • 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.

Nordic/Biathlon Resources

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

Eileen Carey
Director, U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing