Getting Started: Questions, Answers, Tips
- The start and end of ski seasons vary, so be sure to check.
- Reservations: Always make reservations as far in advance as possible. Some places require weeks of notice others 48 hours. Some places require extra paperwork (usually insurance liability) to be filled out in advance.
- What kind of lesson do you need? Are you a new skier or not? Some places have programs for those not needing instruction, just a little help (called a ski buddy).
- How long is the lesson? And what’s included in the fee: is the equipment, the lift ticket? Find out. Most places have both mono-skis and bi-skis but some only have one of these. Some lessons are $0 whereas others charge $450 for a full day of private lessons and that doesn’t even include the lift ticket. Some places only offer multiple-day lessons.
- Come prepared with proper snow clothes; layering is a good technique.
USA Adaptive Skiing: Limited Mobility and Wheelchair Users
- Alpine Meadows (Lake Tahoe, CA): Achieve Tahoe is located at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort where PSIA-certified instructors and trained volunteers make skiing possible for the disabled. Lessons are taught daily using both mono-skis and bi-skis for 2.5 hours. A lift ticket is included but the equipment is an additional fee. Ski season begins every winter from about mid-December to mid-April. For reservations call 530-581-4161 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration paperwork is to be filled out in advance.
- Mountain High Ski Resort (Wright Wood, CA): While being a smaller resort, they have 3 resorts there for the price of one that gives great versatility. And if you’re just starting the terrain is more than enough to challenge you! Their Adaptive program has very good equipment and PSIA-certified instructors. The cost of lessons includes instructors, equipment, and lift tickets. Adaptive lessons are taught midweek in January and February (tentatively in March) and are by reservation only. Weekend/Holiday lessons are also available but are more expensive. For reservations call 760-316-7861, the Ski School office, and speak to the adaptive supervisor at least 72 hours in advance of the desired lesson.
- Adaptive Sports Association (Durango, CO): The Adaptive Sports Association ski instructors have been working with the disabled for over 25 years. You can choose from mono or bio-ski, depending on your level of ability as well as a full-day lesson or half-day. The cost includes a private lesson, a lift ticket for the day, and equipment rental. For reservations call 970-385-2163.
- Adaptive Sports Center (Crested Butte, CO): Lessons on a mono-ski or bi-ski include private instruction with a certified ski instructor, equipment, and a “lesson only” ski pass. Prices are based on peak and off-season rates. There is a semi-private lesson (multiple students) that runs a little cheaper. One can choose from a half-day or full-day pass. For reservations call 866-349-2296 or email email@example.com.
- Axis Vail (Vail, CO): Ski season in Vail starts mid-November through mid-April. Adaptive skiers can choose from either a mono-ski as well a bi-ski here as well as in Beaver Creek. Choose either full-day or half-day lessons, which go either from 9:00 to 3:30 or 9:00 to 12:00 and 12:30 to 3:30. The cost of the lesson includes equipment but not the lift pass. There are 5-day and seasonal adaptive lift passes available. For reservations call 970-754-3264 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Beaver Creek/Vail Program: Choose from a full-day (6.5 hours) or half-day lessons (3 hours). The lesson includes ski equipment (mono-skis and bi-skis) but not the lift ticket. For more skiing, there are lessons for 3 days and include the ski equipment and lift ticket. However, the lessons must be used within 5 days. For reservations call 970-754-5465. The season is usually from mid-November through mid-April.
- Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) (Breckenridge and the Keystone Resorts): One-on-one instruction is offered at Breckenridge and Keystone. Lessons include one-on-one instruction, all necessary equipment, and lift tickets. BOEC maintains an up-to-date inventory of equipment to fit your needs. For reservations call 970-453-5633 or 800-383-2632.
- Challenge Aspen (Aspen, CO): Private half-day or full lessons with a mono-ski or bi-ski are available and prices include the lesson, lift ticket, and rental equipment. A small discount is given if you choose the 5-day pass for either half or full days. A ski buddy is also an option for more independent skiers for either a half or full day and includes a 40% discount on lift tickets and 50% off rentals. For reservations call 970-923-0578, ext. 208, or email email@example.com.
- Ignite Adaptive Spots (Eldora, CO): At 10 am and 1 pm January- March Thursday-Sunday the Adaptive Ski & Ride School offers lessons for the disabled. The lesson includes the lift ticket, trail pass, and equipment (if needed). Additional lesson times may be arranged but either way email firstname.lastname@example.org to make reservations. Payment is needed before the lesson.
- Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (Steamboat Springs, CO): Professionals instruct disabled skiers for either a full (7 hours)or half (3 hours) day lesson. Equipment and special lift ticket are available during the lesson. One can choose from a mono-ski or bi-ski. Book the lesson at least 15 days out otherwise an additional fee will be charged. For experienced skiers who do not need instruction or equipment, a Ski Buddy (a highly trained volunteer) is available to escort you around the ski area for either a half or full day. For reservations call 800-299-5017.
- Telluride Adaptive Sports Association (Telluride, CO): A daily lift ticket, equipment, and instructor(s) are included in the lesson price. Ski lessons include professional ski instructor(s) for a half or full day. For private lessons, it costs a little more. Ski-buddy services are available for independent skiers. There is a non-refundable despite, a strict cancelation policy and paperwork that needs to be filled out in advance. Reservations call 970-728-3865 or email email@example.com
- Winter Park Resort (Winter Park, CO): The National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD) brings adaptive Alpine Skiing to Winter Park. Ski season is from November to April using either a mono-ski or bi-ski. Half-day lessons are 3 hours and full-day lessons are 6 hours. Equipment and lift tickets are included in the price of the lesson. A ski buddy may also be hired for a fee for more advanced skiers. Season passes are also discounted for the disabled. For reservations call 303-316-1540 or 970-726-1540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- High Ground Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (Ketchum, ID): Fresh Tracks is a program offering one on one lessons for either a half (3 hours) or full (6 hours) day. The lesson includes a lift ticket and equipment. For the best price schedule a lesson at least 14 days in advance, otherwise there is an additional fee.
- Maine Handicapped Skiing (MHS) is an organization that offers Alpine and Nordic Skiing for a full (5 hours) or half day (2.5 hours) starting in January to the beginning of April. Choose from either a mono-ski or bi-ski. The best part about MHS is that it is FREE, thanks to about 400 volunteers. There are a couple of places to experience the snow with MHS: Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry (Alpine Skiing), Sunday River Outdoor Center in Newry (Nordic Skiing), Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley (Alpine Skiing), Saddleback in Rangeley (Alpine Skiing) and Pineland Farms in New Gloucester (Nordic Skiing). For reservations call 1800-639-7770 or email email@example.com.
- Challenge Mountain: Ski days are on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 AM until about 4 PM. Clients are taken to major ski areas all over northern Michigan, like Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Nubs Knob, Treetops/Silvan, Shuss Mountain/Shanty Creek, and Caberfae. The instructors will spend as much time with a client as it requires to get them on the ski hill and do the best that they can do with either a mono-ski or bi-ski. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 231-582-1186.
- Special Kid Care at Buck Hill (Burnsville, MN): Though the organization is called Special Kid Care, skiing is not just for kids. The 3-week sessions are offered in January and February. Participants can come Monday evenings or Saturday Mornings. The 3-week session includes equipment (mono-ski or bi-ski), lift tickets, and instruction from our volunteers. The organization also works in partnership with the Buck Hill Ski and Snowboard School so if people would like to schedule private instruction they are able to through Buck Hill.
- Eagle Mount (Bozeman, MO): Eagle Mount is an affiliate of Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA) and offers lessons at Bridger Bowl, Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin, and Yellowstone Club. Private lessons are with professional ski instructors (PSIA) with either a mono-ski or bi-ski. Sometimes two or even three instructors are needed. Choose from a full (4 hours) or half day (2 hours). Adaptive equipment and lift tickets are included in the lesson. There is also paperwork to be filled out in advance. Prices vary on the resort so call for reservations call 406-586-1781 or email email@example.com.
- Waterville Valley Adaptive Skiing Program (Water Valley, NH): Group and private lessons are available any day, including holiday periods. A daily lesson includes an all-mountain lift ticket, the use of specially designed adaptive ski equipment, and one-on-one instruction. For reservations contact Jim Wall, Program Director at 603-236-8311 Ext. 3175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Windham Mountain (Windham, NY): With the Adaptive Sports Foundation lessons can be reserved on a full (4 hours) or half (2 hours) day basis. Lessons include equipment (mono-ski and bi-ski) and the lift ticket. Ski season begins in December and ends in March. All lessons begin and end at the Adaptive Sports Center. Lesson check-in, ski/snowboard rentals, and adaptive equipment fitting will all take place at the Center. Full-day lessons have a one-hour lunch break, between 12:00 and 1:00 pm. Lunch is not provided. Forms must be filled out before even making the reservation. For reservations call 518-734-5070.
- National Ability Center (Park City UT): Offers lessons at the Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley & Canyons. A full day of lessons is 6 hours whereas a half-day is 3 or 2 hours. For the Park City Mountain Resort, a half-day lesson of either 2 or 3 hours includes a lift ticket and for a full 6-hour day the lift ticket and lunch are included. On the other hand, at Deer Valley & Canyons, there is no lift ticket included in the half or full-day lesson. A ski buddy is also available for rent for those advanced skiers who do not need lessons. For reservations call 435-649-3991 or email email@example.com.
- Ability Plus (West Dover, VT): At the Mount Snow Resort Ability Plus offers adaptive ski clinics for a full of half day. The full day consists of two 2-hour sessions (one in the morning and afternoon). The half-day is one 2-hour lesson. These two options include the lift ticket and adaptive equipment. If you already have the equipment then the lesson is cheaper. For reservations call 802-464-1100, Ext. 1 – 4699, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports (Killington, Warren, and Bolton, VT): Adaptive skiing runs from the end of December through the end of March/early April, depending on when partnering resorts close for the winter season. They are Pico Mountain in Killington, Sugarbush Resort in Warren, and Bolton Valley in Bolton. Choose from either a mono or bi-skis as well as half (morning or afternoon) or full-day lessons. Half days are from 9:30 am to noon or 1-3:30 pm and full days are from 9:30 am to noon and 1-3:30 pm. Lessons include equipment and a lift ticket. The easiest way to register is online.
- Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Adaptive Program (Jeffersonville, VT): Provides therapeutic recreation for children and adults of all abilities. Winter snow sports experiences are tailored to meet the needs and goals of each individual. Some program participants may benefit from the support of two instructors, while others may be appropriately paired with one instructor. Smugglers also offer an inclusion program with its ski and snowboard programs for children, allowing them to socialize with peers while still maintaining the support needed through the adaptive program. Half and full-day lessons are available. Smugglers’ adaptive program maintains an inventory of adaptive equipment including mono-skis, bi-skis, and a slider. Snowboarding is also available.
- Challenged Athletes of West Virginia (Snowshoe, WV): Offers either one 2-hour lesson or three 2-hour lessons (multi-day use) and includes the lift ticket (during lesson only) and equipment. Choose from either a mono-ski or bi-ski. For reservations email email@example.com or call 304-572-6708.
- South Eastern Wisconsin Adaptive Ski Program (SEWASP) (Milwaukee, WI): SEWASP is a chapter of Disabled USA and offers adaptive skiing with either a mono-ski or bi-ski. Lessons take place just southwest of Milwaukee at the Alpine Valley Ski Resort and are only available Thursday evenings (2.5 hours) or Saturday mornings (3 hours) from January to mid-March. For reservations call 414-226-8375.
- Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (Jackson, WY): Teton Adaptive Sports holds adaptive lessons at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and encompasses the equipment and lift ticket for either a full or half day. A full day is 6 hours with a lunch break or a half day is 2.5 hours in the morning or 3 hours in the afternoon; start and end times may be adjusted. For reservations contact Ryan Burke at 307-690-4774.
- Grand Targhee Resort (Alta, WY): Adaptive lessons include your choice of a mono-ski or bi-ski as well as a full or half day. A full day is 6 hours with a lunch break or a half day is 2.5 hours in the morning or 3 hours in the afternoon. Scholarships are available. For first-time skiers, a half-day lesson is free courtesy of Teton Adaptive Sports. For reservations contact Gil Hundley at 1-800-TARGHEE (827-4433), Ext 1352, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canada, British Columbia Adaptive Skiing: Limited Mobility and Wheelchair Users
Disabled Skiers Association of British Columbia: To ski in BC almost anywhere one must purchase a DSABC membership for insurance coverage which can be done online quite easily before the lesson.
- Adaptive Snow Sports at Sun Peaks (ASSAP) (Kamloops, BC): At the Sun Peaks Resort ASSAP is providing adaptive skiing. Skiers have the choice of using a mono-ski or bi-ski for either a full (6 hours) or half day. The half-day has a 2.5-hour session from 9:30 am-12 pm or a 3-hour session from 12-3 pm. The cost of the lesson does NOT include a lift ticket or equipment. There is also a ski buddy program for more advanced skiers that do not require instruction. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance by calling 250-578-5505. A registration form must also be filled out. All guests are required to purchase a membership with DSABC.
- Caledonia Adaptive Snowsports Society (Prince George, BC): Offers downhill ski lessons during January and February at the Hart Highlands Ski Hill which is a community-run ski hill in the Hart Highlands (northern area of town) of the city of Prince George, BC as long as the weather and conditions permit. This hill is a neighborhood hill with a platter lift and tow rope with short downhill runs. Evening classes are also offered during the week on the hill with equipment provided for members of the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers, Disabled Skiing Association of BC (DSABC), or BC Adaptive Snow Sports. Both mono and bi skis are available during lessons for no fee. A limited number of qualified volunteer instructors so reservations need to be made no later than a week prior.
- Panorama Adaptive Snow Sports (PASS) (Invermere, BC): At the Panorama Mountain Resort, PASS works at the resort to provide adaptive skiing from mid-December through mid-April. PASS only has bi-skis which are included in the lesson. Lift tickets are not included in the lesson. Lessons are normally 2 hours in the morning or afternoon but a full day lesson can be arranged. All participants must register with DSBC. With that, members receive a 50% discount on lift tickets. Make reservations at least two weeks in advance by calling 1800-663-2929 or emailing email@example.com.
- Powder Hounds Adaptive Ski Club (Kelowna, BC): Big White Ski Resort offers adaptive skiing through the PowderHounds (People in Motion). Skiers choose from a mono-ski or bi-ski for either a half (2.5 hours) or full (5 hours) day. The PowderHounds season starts the first week of January to the last week in March. At the Big White Ski Resort, it’s best to purchase a People in Motion membership for $10 because then you get 50% off an all-day lift pass. For reservations email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-861-3302. It’s best to make a reservation at least 2-3 weeks in advance if not more.
- Red Mountain Resort (Rossland, BC): The basic adaptive lesson package is for a two-hour private lesson with two instructors and includes the lift ticket and use of a sit-ski (mono-ski). The season generally starts on the second weekend of December, providing there is sufficient snow coverage, and runs to the first or second weekend in April. All our instructors who teach the adaptive program are CADS certified. You must become a DSABC member before your lesson. For reservations call 1800-663-0105 Ext. 235 or email email@example.com.
- Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports (SSASS) (Vernon, BC): At the Silver Star Mountain Resort the ski lesson is free of charge. Even the use of the sit-ski equipment is free of charge (6 Mountain Man bi-skis, 2 Yetis (mono), and a Prashberger). Lessons usually last half a day (3 hours), but if the student has the stuff – a whole day (6 hours) is possible. A person with a DSABC membership would get half off the Silver Star lift ticket. There are a number of forms one must fill out before participating. For reservations call 250-260-3737 or email info@SSASS.BC.CA.
- Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) (Vancouver, BC): VASS has beginning, intermediate, and advanced sit-ski programs, consisting of multiple ski days (usually 6 at 3hrs each) at Mount Seymour, Grouse Mountain, and Cyprus Mountain. Cyprus Mountain is for an advanced group of independent skiers and is the largest mountain. A one-day “drop-in” lesson is possible but needs to be arranged well in advance, but most lessons are handled in groups though each skier is assigned a trained sit-ski volunteer. On both Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour are both mono and bi-skis available for rent. The ski season starts at the end of January and ends when VASS Cup Race takes place. A DSABC membership is also required for an additional fee. The bulk of the VASS programs are on Grouse Mountain and are open almost every day. On Thursdays is a sit-skit program on Grouse Mountain but with notice, a sit-ski volunteer can be arranged any day. For instance, if someone wanted to join the Wednesday evening or Sunday morning programs VASS will endeavor to accommodate that with notice to arrange volunteer instructors with sit-ski experience.VASS also offers sit-ski programs on weekends on Mt Seymour. Due to heavy demand, VASS has to run a lottery where potential students put their names on a list to be drawn for spots in the program. Some years the Seymour Sit-Ski Program has been cut from 6 weeks to 4 weeks to allow more people access to a (slightly shorter) opportunity to participate. 2011 was the first in several years where everyone who requested a spot got to come to play on the mountain. The greatest limiting factor in all the programs through VASS is the depth of the volunteer pool. VASS always has more demand than capacity. Reservations are recommended to be made as far in advance as possible. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-646-VASS (8277) to arrange a drop-in or participation in a sit-ski program.
- Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP) (Whistler, BC): WASP offers full-day lessons (5 hours). At the check-in desk, you will be given your lift tickets, rental (Bi-skis and mono-skis), and lessons vouchers. The price for the lesson changes whether or not a lift ticket is needed but the equipment is always included. Skiers must be a DSABC member and have the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program release of liability filled out. For reservations call 604-905-2071 or email email@example.com