Outriggers: For 3 and 4 track skiers, outriggers should be set up so that they provide only the support and assistance needed by the skier. The length of the outriggers should allow the skier to easily achieve a balanced athletic stance. If the outriggers are too short, the skier will bend over at the waist and if they are too long the skier’s posture will appear to be overly upright. As a standing skier’s use of the outrigger progresses, it is important to give them the option to remove the bolt or other mechanism that prevents the outrigger’s ski tip from flattening against the snow. Outrigger brakes must be removed for competition. If the cuff of the outrigger hinges, it will protect the skier’s wrist and forearm in the event of a fall.
Visually Impaired: Many visually impaired racers and guides utilize radio or speaker systems to improve communication between the guide and the skier. If the skier chooses to use a radio system it is recommended not to become completely reliant on the radio, as radio systems can be unreliable. Voice commands are the only legal communication between athlete and guide. It is legal for voice commands to be either called out or communicated through a radio or speaker system. Clicking the ski poles together or hitting the gates by the guide is not permitted in disabled skiing competitions.
Mechanics: A mono-ski is designed to transfer the movements of the athlete to the ski (like a ski boot). The mono-ski’s suspension and geometry must allow the skier to control their pressure to the ski and absorb variations in the snow surface. The overall height and width of the mono ski should allow the skier to tip the ski on edge without contacting the snow commonly known as bucketing out. It must not be so high as to make balance difficult. The shock absorber is crucial to the performance of the mono-ski. Any skier who seeks to pursue racing or high level skiing should use a mono-ski that was designed to use a high performance shock. These types of shocks significantly enhance the performance of the mono-ski. High performance shocks can be set to the weight and preferences of the skier and require annual maintenance. Athletes and their coaches should become familiar with making adjustments to shocks.
Athlete Interface: The interface between the athlete and the mono-ski incorporates the seat shell, seat cushion, straps, and leg covers. The biggest points to look for are the body position and range of motion, tightness of the interface, safety of the straps, and safety of the cushion. The skier’s body position should allow them to access full range of motion fore/aft, laterally, and rotationally while offering support and stability so the skier can have full control through their range of motion. It is important that the straps and any covers not inhibit the skier’s range of motion in any plane. For skiers who are bilateral leg amputees, a shoulder strap system may be required to safely secure them in the seat. It is also important to ensure that the skier’s lower body is protected from impact in a fall by the shell and frame of the mono-ski. For mono-skiers with spinal injuries, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risk of pressure sores due to point pressure, rubbing, and shear forces against their skin. For sitting skiers making a strong commitment to the sport, custom seating systems have been created to eliminate possible risks to skin health and provide a better interface with the mono-ski. We recommend that athletes perform regular skin checks to monitor these risks.
Bindings, plates, & mounting: Heel wedges are used to ensure that the mono ski is firmly connected to the ski to allow the skier to stay have better arch use of their ski. For the safety of athletes, attached bucket anchors help slow the athlete down if the individual were to fall. We have found that when a mono-skier releases from their binding their fall quickly becomes a tumbling fall rather than a sliding fall and the potential for injury is increased. When the ski remains fixed to the mono-ski it tends to act as an anchor and stops the skier from tumbling. High DIN (release settings) race bindings are needed for mono-skiers. These bindings are built with stronger materials and need to be set with the highest DIN setting as possible. Some bindings can be altered so they do not release by removing springs in the toe and blocking the heel piece.
Outriggers: Determining the length of outriggers for sitting skiers is very similar to standing skiers. Outriggers should allow the skier to easily achieve a balanced athletic posture. Generally when they are too long the skier will need to push the riggers away from their body for their arms and shoulders to maintain an athletic posture. When they are too short the skier will hunch forward to maintain rigger contact with the snow. As a mono-skier progresses, it is important to remove the bolt or other mechanism that prevents the outrigger’s ski tip from flattening against the snow. Outrigger brakes must be removed for competition. If the cuff of the outrigger hinges, it will protect the skier’s wrist and forearm in the event of a fall.
- Mono-skis should be checked regularly for loose bolts and cracks in the metal frame or plastic shell.
- All mono-skis should be fitted with hand straps to make it easier for teachers, coaches, and others to assist the skier.
- For competitions, stopping devices attached to the bucket to prevent long, sliding falls are mandatory.
- Shocks should be checked regularly and serviced yearly.
- Athletes should always be prepared to adjust and repair their mono-skis.
- Extra skis, straps, nuts and bolts, shocks, outriggers, and the appropriate tools are essential to get the most out of every training opportunity/session.
Skis: Ski lengths and binding plate heights vary depending on the event
Sit-Skis: Mono-skis have a specially fitted chair over a single or double ski. The chair includes seat belts and other strapping, as well as a suspension device to minimize wear and tear on the skier’s body
Poles or Outriggers: Athletes in certain Paralympic classifications use special poles called outriggers. Outriggers have short ski blades on the end and help the skier with balance
Clothing: Alpine ski races wear lightweight, form fitting clothing (all in one suit) to minimize air resistance. Sometimes suits are padded to protect from injury
*Boots, bindings, helmets, and goggles are all standard for adapted alpine skiing