Able2Do Anything: Sports

Skiing holiday ideas for those with disabilities

disabled person 'on the piste'

For many, the thrill and freedom of a skiing holiday is a kind of therapy in its own right. Few experiences can inspire such giddy feelings as those associated with careering down a snowy slope, witnessing the incredible sights of ice-capped mountains and vast forests, or enjoying a little après ski in the late afternoon, and the good news is that these days, disability is no excuse not to embark upon a snowsports holiday. In fact, there are now more reasons than ever before for those with disabilities to head abroad on a ski holiday, least of all the rush that whizzing through the snow brings with it – the only problem is choosing where you’ll be heading!

From The Disabled Holiday Directory to Ski 2 Freedom and Disability Snowsports UK, there are now numerous organisations dedicated to helping disabled people discover the joy of skiing and snowboarding. Whether your disability affects your hearing, sight, ability to walk, or something else entirely, there is no denying the therapeutic effects of heading down a slope at rapid pace. Cool, crisp, fresh air is, of course, always recommended, while the freedom of the slopes can instil a real sense of wellbeing and exercise parts of your body that you may have been neglecting.

How you experience skiing or boarding will depend entirely upon your disability, and there is so much specialist equipment to assist with your next ski adventure. Perhaps you need a fulltime carer with you, would benefit from a helping hand every now and again, or require an item such as a sit-ski – all things can be considered in order to make your first skiing holiday and enjoyable one. In fact, there are several fantastic indoor and outdoor ski slopes in the UK now and so many dedicated and fully qualified instructors ready to teach you the ropes. As for destinations – well, the world really is your oyster, as many resorts now offer disabled facilities as readily as those for able-bodied skiers. Destinations such as Norway, Canada, France, and Italy are all fantastic for skiers and boarders of all abilities, so it may be time to purchase a few new guide books.

disabled person skiing

As you might expect, embarking upon a skiing holiday when you’re disabled can be a little more daunting than it is for able-bodied skiers and boarders. After all, there is a little extra specialist equipment to consider, along with the fashionable yet functional wardrobe that you’ll be rocking out on the slopes. The good news is that numerous retailers now offer professional and affordable equipment designed to cater for a range of disabilities, while rental gear is also incredibly accessible.

So what exactly do you need for downhill adventures? Warm, sensible clothing is obviously a must, ensuring you keep warm and toasty yet stylish as you swish between the trees. Safety accessories, such as a helmet, gloves, and wrist guards are advisable, while boarders may also wish to consider padding for their lower back. In terms of ski boots, it is essential to follow the advice of your instructor; boots, skis, and boards MUST be tailored to suit your body, regardless of your disability, and so it is important to listen to each piece of advice given when you first start learning your new hobby. If you require a sit-ski or board, for example, these can usually be provided by the company that you’re travelling with, and are recommended to be booked in advance, while it can be advantageous to have your own boots. These will be designed and moulded to your feet, support you in every way that you need, and be bought in the colours that best reflect your vibrant personality. Other essentials you’ll need to take away with you include thick socks, specialist goggles, a balaclava or headscarf to protect your head from your helmet and, of course, a camera to capture those precious memories.

Skiing or snowboarding can be daunting hobbies at the best of times; after all, putting your faith in a relatively small piece of equipment when you’re whizzing down a snow-covered slope isn’t for the faint hearted. However, there is no reason why those with disabilities shouldn’t experience the freedom of a ski holiday, and there is so much on offer to assist with a fabulous getaway. The only issue you may have is deciding where to go…

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