About Disability Alpine Skiing
Alpine Skiing incorporates male and female athletes with physical disabilities such as spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, amputees and les autres (other disabilities not within these groups) and those with visual impairment. There are eleven classifications for physical disabilities, seven for standing, three for sitting and three for those with visual impairments.
Downhill: a race down a long steep hill with various gates that are used as checkpoints.
Slalom: two runs on separate days, has a high number of gates (55-75 for men, 40-60 for women) and is a highly technical event. If an athlete misses a gate he/she is disqualified.
Giant Slalom: much like Slalom but is a longer course with fewer gates. This event is also run over two days with the combined times determining the winner.
Super Giant Slalom: a speed event shorter than the Downhill but longer than the Giant Slalom. It has a minimum of 35 direction changes for men and 30 for women.
The equipment is adapted where necessary for different disabilities. Athletes with limited mobility may use a Sit Ski (a specially fitted chair on a single ski); leg amputees who ski without prosthesis may use poles or outriggers. These have short ski blades on the end and help the skier with balance. Blind skiers are guided through the course by sighted skiers using voice signals to guide them.
Where there are insufficient numbers in a classification, athletes are combined and a formula is used to factor times according to their classification status.
Alpine Skiing is practiced in 35 countries and is rapidly growing.
For those wishing to become involved in the sport the contact details are as follows:
To contact Disability Snowsport click on the logo
The British Disabled Ski Team
Disability Snowsport UK