Biwabik, Minn. â€“ Giants Ridge Ski Resort now offers adaptive ski equipment for the physically disabled so that all people may enjoy alpine and cross country skiing in northeastern Minnesota.
Giants Ridge recently acquired four cross country sit-skis and is now recognized as an official "CXC Adaptive Opportunity Center", one of thirteen around the Midwest, through the Central Cross Country Association. Adaptive cross country skiing is a winter sport in which disabled or visually-impaired participants propel themselves using conventional skis and poles or a sit-ski chair.
â€œThe concept of offering full service walk-in cross country skiing to people with disabilities is a relatively new idea. It is completely in step with the times,â€ comments Scott Wilson, CXC Adaptive Director. â€œThe CXC plan is to begin with a broad base of recreational skiers, and offer training camps and advanced coaching for those that are interested in competing. It is exactly the same development model as able bodied skiers.â€
Several members of the Giants Ridge Ski Patrol and Ski School are now trained to assist adaptive ski participants with as little or as much help as needed, depending on the participant's disability. â€œOur staff recently tested the sit-skis on the Giants Ridge trails, and while doing so were approached by two able-bodied skiers inquiring about the equipment for their friends and family that are disabled and in wheel chairs,â€ said Jon Olsen, Giants Ridge Ski Patroller. â€œI think there is going to be a lot of interest in this new equipment.â€ In addition, because there are four sit-skis, non-disabled family and friends may accompany their disabled friend or loved one in order to all have the same winter outdoor experience.
The physically disabled may also participate in alpine skiing with either a mono-ski or bi-ski also available at Giants Ridge. The ski resort has one mono-ski for participants who are disabled in the lower body and legs, but have good arm control, and good core and upper arm strength. A bi-ski is available to participants that have any type of disability - lower body, upper body or both. â€œOur trained staff can assist the participant on a mono-ski or bi-ski down the mountain,â€ said John Filander, winter sports director at Giants Ridge. â€œA tether system is available if needed, so that the instructor or patroller is with the participant during the entire ski experience.â€
There is no charge for beginners for the use of equipment and facility or for lessons.
Please call ahead for reservations for adaptive cross country and alpine skiing to ensure that the equipment is available as well as any needed instructors or assistance. E-Mail John Filander or call him at 218-865-3018 or 800-688-7669, ext. 3018. For more information about Giants Ridge, call 218-865-3000 or 800.688.7669, or visit www.giantsridge.com
218.865.3019 or 800.688.7669, ext. 3019