Most Common Ways to Ski or Snowboard with a Prosthetic
Skiing or Snowboarding are two sports that can be a challenge to learn for any beginner. Losing a limb may cause you to relearn new ways to experience these types of winter sports. Some of the most common ways for amputees to participate in skiing & snowboarding are:
- Sit Skiing
- Sit-skiing is a common option for those who may be paralyzed below the waist or new to using a prosthetic. There are 2 ways to sit-ski, one is bi-skis where a bucket is attached to two skis or mono-skis where the bucket is attached to a single ski. The benefits of the bi-skis are it provides a more stable base but it can be more challenging to maneuver. Additionally, sit-skiing includes outriggers that are crutches attached to your forearm to help move the ski when you are not going downhill. If you are new to sit-skiing it is recommended that you get an instructor to properly teach you how to use these types of skis.
- Three Tracking
- This is a type of standing skiing where you leave the prosthetic off & only use one ski along with two outriggers. This type of skiing is good if you do not want to worry about fitting the prosthetic for skiing. It does put a lot of weight on the healthy leg which may be difficult for stamina.
- Skiing & Snowboarding with a Prosthetic
- It is possible to ski & snowboard with your prosthetic on. The main concerns are fitting your prosthetic for the ski or snowboard boot & making sure your prosthetic stays on when onboarding and deboarding the lift. It is recommended to use auxiliary suspensions to keep your prosthetic in place & to help with performance. It is also helpful to use lubricants or grocery bags to help slide the prosthetic into the boot.
- Snow Biking
- A new option that resorts are starting to allow on the mountain is a snow bike. This machine includes one fixed ski under the seat & one ski on the side attached to the front forks. It comes with shock absorbers & the front forks allow the machine to turn like a bike. Moving your weight side to side and using the handlebars is the most common way to turn the ski bike. This is a great alternative to stand skiing with a prosthetic.
Overall, you don’t have to slow down or miss out on winter sports when you have a prosthetic. There are great ways to get you back out on the mountain and enjoying these activities.