Skiing for the Severely Physically Disabled: Sit-Skiing Devices

GEORG NEFF, MD


Skiing for the severely physically disabled has become more common during recent years. It depends predominantly on the ability to use special de vices for skiing in a seated position. Many devices can be used by adults and children with either congenital or acquired disability.

With a cross-country ski sledge consisting of a carbon fiber reinforced resin-shell, fitted with two cross-country skis, the skier uses the arms to move forward. For alpine downhill skiing, different devices are available. In the United States, the Arroya sledge is well known, but is dangerous especially for the upper limbs which are used to control speed and direction of the vehicle. In Germany, the Schrall ski sledge is still used but is also dangerous because of its great weight. The Japanese Chair-Ski was replaced by a monoski with a seat controlled by two short outrigger skis, but still is unsuitable for the severely handicapped skier. The Monoski-Mini for the individual with bilateral above-knee amputations and the Monoski-Maxi for those with paraplegia and some active trunk stabilization are used with two outrigger skis. These vehicles are safer because of improved suspension and the low center of gravity. The Mono-Skibob has a closed reinforced resin box which prevents direct damage in case of a crash and keeps the skier, primarily those with paraplegia, protected from the wet and cold.

Department of Technical Orthopaedics, Orthopaedic University Hospital, D-7400 Tubingen, Federal Republic of Germany