Snow Sports

What is adaptive skiing and snowboarding?

Not much different from traditional snow skiing and snowboarding. All of us require some type of adaptive equipment to have fun on snow. For example, skiers use skis, bindings, boots and poles, which did not come as standard equipment on our bodies. The same rule applies to all snow sports—we all need some kind of adaptive equipment to ski, snowboard, and snowshoe.

While much of adaptive ski or snowboard teaching concerns the actual mechanics of both sports, it is important to remember that all lessons focus around the student and his or her goals and needs. Our adaptive snow sports program works with a wide range of disabled people to provide the unique exhilaration of this sport. Along the way, we help our students build confidence and physical dexterity.

Our key to success, and that of our participants, is to treat each lesson as an opportunity to learn about the person and the disability, how to best build confidence and understanding, and what combinations of teaching tools and progressions can most effectively lead to the common goals of fun, safety, and realistic skill development.


The "intellectual disabilities" category encompasses techniques for working with people who need special behavioral or educational assistance. 

The "visual impairments" category addresses the adaptations of behavior or equipment that enable the blind or partially sighted student to ski. Standing skiers with disabilities may use one, two-, three- or four-track skiing techniques.

These techniques often use "outriggers" for balance and are named for the number of tracks left in the snow. The other categories relate to the type of equipment that the skier will use and the special teaching progressions that may be warranted. Three-track and four-track refer to stand-up skiing using either two skis (four-track) or one ski (three- track), along with two outrigger poles. Mono-ski and bi-ski refer to types of sit-skiing equipment in which a molded seating apparatus (or "bucket") is mounted to either one (i.e., mono-ski) or two (i.e., bi-ski) skis. Outriggers are used for sit-skiing as well. 


Some adaptive riders use outriggers to help balance themselves while they board, but many don't use any special equipment. Also bindings on the board can be moved to help with balance. Participants include riders with spinal cord injuries, amputations, visual impairments, head injuries, multiple sclerosis and other conditions. Improved balance and increased leg and trunk strength are some of the benefits of riding.

As with adaptive skiing, a wide variety of specialized equipment is used for adaptive snowboarding. Choosing from among these tools is dictated by a rider's strengths and weaknesses. We use these aids merely to assist a rider and not to make him or her dependent on them. The goal is to develop independence from accessory equipment through effective riding. 

Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.


Powderhorn Resort has a fresh approach to a skiing or snowboarding adventure. With more than 600 acres to explore, novice and experts can cruise the corduroy, dash into the aspens for glade skiing, plow through waist deep powder, hit the bumps or jib through the terrain parks.

Some Powderhorn distinctions include short lift lines, amazing views, hospitable service, informal atmosphere and a welcome feeling of being home. Powderhorn Resort is located in western Colorado on the side of the beautiful Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-top mountain.

With 510 acres of terrain and a vertical drop of 1,650 feet, Powderhorn offers slopes for beginners and experts.

Explore our other programs

Adventure Camp
Team Powderhorn
Water Sports
Snow Sports
Camp Freedom
All or part of this operation is conducted on Public Lands under special permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.


601 Struthers Ave. | 81501
Grand Junction, CO



(Office) +1-970-257-1222
(Fax) +1-970-241-2154
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

AmazonSmile has donated over $200 million to charities worldwide! You can help increase AmazonSmile donations to Colorado Discover Ability by shopping at Amazon and choosing CDA as your prefered charity. Click below to begin shopping.

Support CDA through Amazon