The end of the Mountain Man?

The end of the Mountain Man?

Most of the photos of Sit Skis in this blog are the Mountain Man brand. You won’t see them at the Paralympics, any more than you would see a Dodge Caravan in a NASCAR race, but they are the backbone of program I ski with and every other sit ski program I’ve met in North America.   They are the standard for tethered bi-skis and quad skis, teaching new sit skiers and providing an  opportunity to enjoy skiing for those who are too disabled to ever ski untethered. They are simple, effective and durable. It’s hard to tell a 1-year old Mountain Man from a 10-year-old Mountain Man, which is something I can’t say for my skis. But the rumour mill says that they aren’t being made any more, the company that makes them has shut down, or refocussed on other product lines. Continue reading “The end of the Mountain Man?”

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A week on the Bunny Hill

A week on the Bunny Hill

I posted a while ago about the two different progression approaches for sit skiing. One which is centered on using tethers to control speed and using chair lifts and green runs from the beginning, and the other which focuses on using a bunny hill, without tethers, and progressing much more similarly to how we teach ordinary skiing. Continue reading “A week on the Bunny Hill”

The Talking Board

The Talking Board

Some of our sit skiers can’t talk, due to physical disabilities. But they can hear and think just fine. In their daily lives they can communicate via texts, emails and even voice synthesis like Stephen Hawking. However, none of that technology translates well to the outdoor environment of skiing.

One of our skiers, Adam, has found a solution to this communication problem with a speech board, like this: Continue reading “The Talking Board”

The Ins and Outs of the Death Wobble

The Ins and Outs of the Death Wobble

It may be a dramatic term but if you are a tetherer you’ve probably seen a death wobble. It is problem which afflicts quad skis (a.k.a dual ski with pontoons / fixed outriggers) when traveling straight down the hill on flat terrain. The sequence goes something like this:

  1. The ski starts to lose momentum
  2. The ski tips randomly (to the right in this case) and the right pontoon touches the snow.
  3. This causes a braking on the right side of the rig, and the skis twist 15 degrees off the direction of travel.
  4. But the skier’s momentum is still straight forward, now 15 degrees left of where the skis are pointing, so the rig flops over to the left side
  5. Now the left tide pontoon touches down on the snow
  6. This causes a braking on the left side of the rig and the skis twist to point 15 degrees left of the directing of travel.
  7. Now the ski flops to the right and the whole cycle continues, etc.

Continue reading “The Ins and Outs of the Death Wobble”

Going off Leash

Going off Leash

Skiing is cancelled today due to rain & warm temperatures, so time for a blog. We rarely use the bunny hill with sit skis at the Edelweiss program, it is too full of small children on the days our program runs. So, our sit skier progression is mainly about running a green trial top to bottom repeatedly on tethers. The first run is 99% tetherer controlled with the skier as a passenger, then slowly responsibility for speed control, turn initiation and route planning are transferred to the sit skier. Continue reading “Going off Leash”

Slip Sliding Away

Slip Sliding Away

Last year at the American Winter Sports Clinic I had a class with an unusual student. He rode a monoski without tethers and could turn and stop independently perfectly well on green slopes. But he ran into problems when we moved to a steeper blue slope. With each turn he picked up speed rather than lost it. He could bleed off speed by traversing the whole width of the hill before turning again, but not quite enough. As a result, his progress down the hill looked like demented pendulum, crossing back and forth across the run at every increasing speed until the inevitable bail out. Continue reading “Slip Sliding Away”