An Inside Look at “Sit Skiing”

July 29, 2015 | 12:26 pm | By Pants Up Easy

Those who are adventurers at heart won’t be deterred by the fact that they may be in a wheelchair. There are many athletes out there who are determined to live their lives on the court, or the slopes, or wherever it may be, as they may have done before an injury that left them in a wheelchair. Luckily, more and more companies are catching on to this lifestyle, and there are an incredible amount of products that make these athletic endeavors possible.

One of these extreme sports that wheelchair users participate in is “sit skiing”. Sit skiing involves the use of a bucket seat suspended above a ski, which will allow the user to ski freely using their upper body. Sit skis are designed for wheelchair users or other skiers with some form of paraplegia. Sit skis have been in use since the late 1960s, and many advancements have been made since then. Sit skis are now made from fiberglass and polyester and include seatbelts. The weight of the ski has been dramatically reduced, which allows skiers to ski on steeper slopes and compete in the moguls.

Sit skiers use a specially designed ski, which is called a mono-ski. Those with lower limb disabilities, including paralysis, can use a mono-ski and there are variations available for those with above the knee amputations as well. The mono-ski uses the same skis that are used for able-bodied alpine skiing, but are adapted so that the skier sits on a chair attached to the ski with a spring.

A sit ski may also be known as a monoski, and it consists of a molded seat mounted on a metal frame. Beneath the seat is a shock absorber, which is meant to ease riding on uneven terrain, and will also help in turning by maximizing ski to snow contact. A monoskier will use outriggers for stability, which resemble a forearm crutch with a short ski on the bottom. A monoskier has the ability to ski on moguls, terrain parks, race courses, glades and even backcountry terrain.

With constant advancements in the technology being used, those who sit ski have the ability to ski in basically any location that stand-up skiers can go. This allows wheelchair users the freedom to participate in sports that they may have once thought to be an unreachable dream. There are a number of incredible sit skiers who have made what may have previously seemed impossible possible, and truly show that those who live life in a wheelchair can do nearly anything they have the desire and drive to do.

 

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