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Adaptive Mono-ski / Sit-ski – World of Adaptive Sports

August 12, 2013

A featured event in the winter Paralympic games, adaptive athletes participate in alpine skiing throughout the world on both recreational and competitive platforms.

Alpine skiing was the featured adaptive sport in Make a Hero’s first film The Movement: One Man Joins an Uprising”.

On the Paralympic level, there are seven divisions of the sport as referenced on the Paralympic website: “Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, Super Combined, Team Events and most recently Snowboard”

A special calculation system and custom adaptive skiing equipment enable adaptive athletes with varying disabilities to compete against one another. One such piece of equipment is the mono-ski, or “sit-ski”.

The mono-ski, invented by Paralympic gold medalist Jim Martinson, is best suited for those adaptive athletes who are unable to maintain their balance while standing for lengths of time. These athletes, such as Chris Waddell, should have good upper-body strength, balance and trunk mobility.

According to, good candidates to operate a mono-ski are those “with double lower extremity amputation, spina bifida, or with a spinal cord injury of T-6 or below”, to name a few disabilities.

Features of the mono-ski / sit-ski:

  • Consists of a molded seat that is attached to a frame by a shock absorber. 
  • The seat sits above a single ski. 
  • The adaptive mono-skier would also use two outriggers (poles with small skis attached to the bottom that are held in both hands) as balance and turning aids. 
  • The mono-ski is also conducive to independence on the slopes as its structure allows its operator to load themselves onto ski lifts on their own.

One of the many beauties of mono-skis is the range of activity that an adaptive athlete can use them for.

From recreational rides down the mountain on relatively easier terrain to backcountry trails to competitive racing, the mono-skier can certainly grow skilled enough to participate in the same ski-related activities as able-bodied skiers.

Interested in taking to the slopes? Locate an adaptive sports group near you <– by clicking the orange link.

Check out military veteran & US hero, Jesse Murphree, as he tries mono-skiing for the first time –> by clicking here

What experiences or questions can you share in regards to adaptive mono-skiing?

Thank you for commenting below!



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Please help us spread the word about adaptive mono-skiers, and all other heroes, by sharing this post through the social media buttons on this page, liking Make A Hero on Facebooksubscribing to The HERO Newsletter on the right side of this page, and / or giving a generous monetary donation.  Thank you! ***

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