Sports for All of Us

The real problems of this world follow you wherever you go, even if you’re on holiday or at work.

We thought that the holiday will make us slow down on work and the winter atmosphere will creep slowly inside our bones making us lazy, but it seems it had quite the contrary effect.

Today I had an incredible surprise. I found a solution to a very important problem right on the Austrian slopes. During a short break from skiing,at a shelley halfway across the slope, I saw a child that suffered from the Down Syndrome. At first nothing stroke me as unusual. But then, as I was putting on my skiis I thought: “How did that boy get to the middle of the slope, and , moreover, how is he supposed to get to the bottom ?”

My answer was this:

The incredible bi-ski, where the boy could sit just like in a sledge. Of course, there was someone that helped him ski and held the bi-ski.

And here are even more adapted devices for different disabilities:

“Types of Adaptations for People with Disabilities
Mono ski—
The skier sits in a molded bucket-style seat that is mounted to a frame attached to a single ski. A shock absorber between the bucket and the ski cushions your ride. Since good upper-body strength and balance are needed, good candidates for the mono ski are typically lower extremity double amputee, spina bifida, spinal cord injury levels T6 and below (although exceptions occur).

Bi Ski—The skier sits in a rigid shell that is attached on top of two wide specialty skis. The two skis allow for a wider base ensuring more stability for the skier. The bi ski does not have a suspension system. Good candidates for the bi ski include beginner skiers, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and higher-level spinal cord injury.

Dual ski—The dual ski is a system designed to bridge the gap between the mono ski and bi ski. It sits like the mono ski, but it is attached to two skis. Those who have advanced past the bi ski but are not yet ready for the mono ski are most appropriate for the dual ski.

3-Track—These skiers require one regular ski and two hand-held outriggers, hence the three points of contact to the snow. Good candidates would be amputees, post polio, hemiplegic, those who ambulate with or without assistive device, do not have full use of one leg, but have one strong non-impaired leg.

4-Track—Skiers use two skis and two hand-held outriggers or an attached walker. A skin bra can be used to help ensure the ski tips do not cross. It is simply a tube that slips across the ski tips. Individuals with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, or anyone who uses crutches or a cane would benefit from trying the 4-track system.

Outriggers—These are forearm crutches with a smaller ski tip on one end and a jagged blade on the other. Outriggers help with stability and turning. Hand-held outriggers are most common, but sometimes fixed outriggers can be attached to the bi ski.

Blind Skiing—The instructor uses various auditory cues and aides from behind or in front of the skier. The skier uses regular size skis and poles, but will not hit the slopes until he/she is comfortable with all maneuvering skills and cues.

Other adaptations—A tether strap is used as a training and safety device by instructors to tether to the skier. Grasping cuffs allow those with limited grip the ability to grip the outriggers using a Velcro strap. Chest straps/shoulder harnesses are available for individuals who need extra assistance for trunk stability.”

You would say that when on a slope all you can concentrate on are your moves. However, today,everything I could concentrate on was that boy skiing with his escort. He was the illustration of hope itself and the proof that nothing is impossible no matter what your problem is.

Having the opportunity to witness something like this really gives you goose-bumps, and nothing is more rewarding than knowing that you CAN and actually ARE doing something to help the people with special needs around you.

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