Winter Sports for Wheelchair Users

Are you looking for fun ways to keep in shape during the winter? Or maybe you want to try new activities to beat the winter blues? You don’t have to limit yourself to traditional wheelchair exercises nor to being indoors for several months. There are different winter sports, both indoor and outdoor, that have been adapted so that people of all abilities could participate. If you’re athletic and enjoy trying out various sports, you may want to look at the list we compiled, giving a general overview of three winter sports for wheelchair users: adaptive skiing, adaptive snowboarding and sled hockey.

Adaptive Skiing for Wheelchair Users

Adaptive skiing, which has been around since the 1940s, is one of the most popular adapted winter sports. There are different types of adaptive ski events in which wheelchair users can participate, much like the traditional ski events. Some events and styles are downhill skiing, Super-G, slalom and giant slalom.

One of the main points that sets skiing apart from other adaptive sports is that it’s a very inclusive sport. If someone has a disability and learns how to ski, they can ski right alongside able-bodied skiers. There is ski equipment for all types of disabilities. The type of ski you will need depends on your physical abilities. To learn more about adaptive skiing for wheelchair users, the classification system, resources for interested athletes and how you can participate, check out our article!

Adaptive Snowboarding for Wheelchair Users

Snowboarding is another winter sport that has been adapted so that everyone of all abilities can participate. Although anyone can do something as simple as going downhill, Disabled Sports USA says that people with body asymmetry are good candidates for adaptive snowboarding. This includes people with amputations, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and hemiplegia.

Some basic equipment you will need is a pair of boots, bindings, a snowboard, and a helmet. There are also three styles of boards and other adaptive equipment.

Check out our article on adaptive snowboarding to learn more about adapted snowboarding for wheelchair users, its history, the classification system, resources for athletes and how you can participate.

Sled Hockey

Sled hockey, also known as ice sled hockey, is a form of ice hockey that was adapted for athletes with disabilities. Outside of the United States, the sport goes by the name sledge hockey. The adapted sport was invented in the early 1960s at a physical rehabilitation center in Stockholm, Sweden. By 1969, Stockholm had a five-team league that included both disabled and able-bodied players. Due to the nature of the fast-paced and full contact sport, it has quickly increased in popularity.

It is played under similar rules to standard ice hockey, but some differences include players being seated on specially designed sleds that sit on top of two hockey skate blades and use two hockey sticks with metal pics or “teeth” on the tips of their handles to propel themselves on the ice. Goalies mostly wear the same equipment but wear modified gloves with metal picks sewn onto the back to allow the goalie to maneuver. To learn more about sled hockey for wheelchair users, the history of sled hockey, how to get started, who can participate in the sport and competitions, check out our article on sled hockey!

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