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The Best Adaptive Ski Lessons in Michigan

Disabled persons wanting to ski now have a range of opportunities and adaptive lesson availability. In Michigan, most ski resorts offer some type of adaptive sports skiing lesson or clinic. Below is a list of our favorite adaptive clinics and how to contact each resort or organization for more information.


  • Crystal Mountain—Advance reservations are required to participate. Call Northern Michigan Adaptive Sports at 231-935-8684.





  • Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association—Each year, the CCSA provides lessons and the use of adaptive downhill ski equipment to people with disabilities in West Michigan. They are a nonprofit corporation and can be reached via their online form.


For a comprehensive list of adaptive ski lessons around the country, this handy guide is the best place to land.


Adaptive Paddling in Michigan

As with cycling, paddle sports have become wildly popular in the disabled community in recent years. This sport—from outriggers canoeing to rafting—is popular due to its relative affordability and the extensive lakes, rivers, and shorelines available across the United States—especially in Michigan. Unlike with cycling and skiing, few or no modifications to standard equipment are needed. As a sport, paddling emphasizes individual ability, but water acts as an equalizer for those of all shapes, sizes, and abilities.


As with other adaptive sports, disabled individuals must choose the type of boat, most often a kayak, that suits their specific needs. The four primary kayak styles are listed below:


Sit-on-Top—Also known as “open-decked,” these have similar hull shapes to their traditional counterparts. However, rather than sitting inside, a molded-in depression on top carries the individual’s weight. These are some of the most comfortable kayaks around.


Sea—Also known as “touring,” these kayaks are used on “flat” water such as lakes, inlets, bays, and very slow-moving rivers. Sea kayaks are best for open ocean paddling, but general touring boats are great for any type of water.


White-water—These are primarily used on fast-moving rivers. Their smaller, shorter frame is more easily maneuvered with paddles. These boats turn more easily, making them a dynamic option for more adventurous boaters.


Inflatable—These kayaks travel well, solve storage problems, and are very lightweight, making them easier to manage and maneuver.


Kayaks will also come in both single and tandem designs, furthering their accessibility to disabled persons. For more information and resources about adaptive rowing, visit US Rowing’s website.

A Brief Guide to Adaptive Ski Gear

Adaptive skiers are privy to the additional world of ski gear that exists alongside standard, off-the-shelf equipment. Below are a few pieces of gear necessary to a successful ski trip.


Freedom TraxThis powerful wheelchair attachment is designed for explorers. It is a unique track system for sand, snow, gravel, mud, and more, and can be used to help adaptive skiers navigate plateau sections of mountain.


Mono Ski—This type of ski is great for intermediate and advanced adaptive skiers. The big body shock is ready for the world’s toughest downhills, and the equipment’s flexibility makes it a dynamic option for those wanting to participate in slalom events.


Sit Skis—If you have had an adaptive ski lesson, you know that off-the-shelf skis are not designed to handle the weight and force that adaptive skiing places on gear. Sit skis are the perfect alternative, as they are designed to absorb the extra force and maintain optimum flex to smoothly distribute weight on both straights and turns.


Most other equipment, everything from jackets and helmets to gloves and snow pants, is essentially the same as it would be for a non-adaptive skier. For a comprehensive list of available adaptive skiing equipment—brands, pieces, and reviews—this guide is great.


Though users can often rent the necessary components of adaptive ski gear, some must be custom-fit to ensure maximum security and safety. When you need something custom-built, or even if you have questions, a visit to Advantage Mobility Outfitters is a great idea. Though the specialize in cars and transportation, they are ready and willing to answer all your adaptive sport-related questions.


Cycling is Accessible to All

Adaptive cycling is a fast-growing pastime for many able and disabled people. As a result, the resources available for this sport are plentiful. Below are a few bits of knowledge you should have in mind before embarking on an adaptive cycling adventure. Choosing the right bike is necessary for a smooth and fun ride. There are several types of bikes for different abilities.


Handcycles are popular among riders with lower-limb mobility impairments, as they allow cyclists to propel a three-wheeled cycle using their arms. If you want to branch into competitive cycling, finding a handcycle that sits lower to the ground is necessary for efficient and fast riding.


Tandem bikes come in a variety of setups, but the most common is a two-wheeled bike with a guide in the front.


Four-wheeled dual recumbents keep riders in a relaxed, seated position; they are the best for lower-extremity cycling.


The side-by-side tandem cycle allows two people to cycle simultaneously or at different rates while staying together.


Recumbent cycles with three wheels and are lower to the ground create a better center of balance, whereas recumbent foot cycles come in a tadpole-style—one wheel in back and two in the front. A recumbent foot cycle can also come in the “delta style,” which has two wheels in back and one in the front.


As a general rule of thumb, recumbent handcycles re used for people who have no or limited use in their lower body, SCI, CP, MS, Spina Bifida, amputee, &c. Recumbent foot cycles are used for people who may need more balance, such as those who have experienced a stroke, have autism, limited fine/gross motor skills, brain tumors, &c.


Looking for the perfect piece of adaptive cycling equipment? Disabled Sports USA has a comprehensive list of brands and products perfect for choosing your next piece of gear.