Equipment is an important part of Para-Nordic skiing because specialized equipment may be required to suit a Para-Nordic skiers' unique physical needs. Standing skiers, who have a visual impairment or a physical disability, will normally use the same equipment as an able-bodied skier but the equipment may need to be modified. For example a mechanism may be used to attach a ski pole to the hand of a skier with reduced hand function or special fittings might be needed to accommodate a prosthesis. Para-Nordic skiers who have reduced lower limb mobility and are not able ski while standing use a sled called a sit-ski..
Additional equipment may be required to ensure the proper fitting of a sit-ski such as padding, a seat cushion or velcro chest straps. Para-Nordic skiers, particularly sit-skiers, will often have difficulty thermo-regulating and will need a blanket or special clothing to cover their extremities in colder weather.
Sit-skis come in various shapes and sizes to suit differing abilities and personal preferences. In general a skier with less lower limb and torso function will have a sled which supports their upper body more and puts their upper leg (femur) in an upward angle from the body. Sit-skiers with more function in their lower limbs and torso will have a less supportive sled with a femur angle more level to the ground. To get the best fit a sit-ski should be made to fit the individual skier.
Sit-ski sleds are attached to a regular cross-country ski and binding system. Skate skis tend to be preferred since they are shorter, more rigid and can endure more weight on them however softer classic skis are also used and may give the sled more manoeuvrability or speed in certain conditions. Only glide wax is used on the skis since they are rigidly attached to the sled and the sit-ski is propelled and glides only by the poling action of the skier.
The cost of a sit-ski ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending upon and the materials used and the needs of the skier. CCC does not endorse personal or commercial sit-ski manufacturers however a list of suppliers can be provided upon request
. We also recommend that you connect with your Para-Nordic Committee representative
who can inform you if there is equipment available in your area.
Sit ski sleds are available for rent for a modest fee from the Saskatchewan Ski Association (SASKI). Please contact Pat Prokopchuk
at SASKI for more information.
Sit ski poles
Sit-ski poles are short to accommodate skiing from a sitting position and will vary according to the height of the sit-ski and person. Correct height of poles can generally be determined by measuring the poles from the ground to the skiers mouth while the skier is sitting in the chair. The range of motion of the upper body, and core strength will also help to determine the height of poles.
Another specialized piece of equipment is the rifle for biathlon competition. Para-Nordic skiers use two types of rifles which are very different than the rifles used in able-bodied biathlon. Skiers with a visual impairment use an EKO laser rifle . The EKO rifle uses audible tones that the skier hears through a set of headphones. The tones become higher pitched as the skier aims the laser closer to the centre of the target. Sit-skiers and standing skiers with a physical disability use a compressed air pellet rifle and shoot at targets which are 10m away. In both cases the rifles are not carried by the skiers while they are skiing. The rifle is presented to the skier by a coach or volunteer once the skier enters the shooting range.