Leaders in adaptive snow sports organizations in BC say that it’s not just cost that can be prohibitive for skiers with disabilities. Adaptive programs rely heavily on a strong volunteer base to provide consistent programming and instruction throughout the province. Program accessibility is directly impacted by lengthy waitlists and difficulty retaining full time volunteers. All of these factors combine to form the experience of someone wanting to get into sitskiing, and in some cases these factors dictate whether or not someone will get to sitski at all.
Who does this affect?
The Recreational Rider
These price differences raise the question of if manufacturers think about not only the consumer’s physical needs when engineering the equipment, but their financial means. The cost for adaptive athletes is already undeniably high, but does the manufacturer factor in affordability throughout the process? Dr. Jaimie Borisoff is a research director at BCIT who oversees the creation, design and production of adaptive equipment. He says the cost factor is always on his mind.
“Almost always we think about the cost when we are designing something. Typically, if its a clear path for a new idea to make it to market, you think about costs along the way; because there is no point making something if no one can afford it.”
The Evolution of the Sitski
Fannie Smith – BC Adaptive Snowsports
Anne Bethune – Vancouver Adaptive Snowsports
Scott Will – Enabling Technologies
Enabling Technologies is one of the industry leaders in engineering, design, and manufacturing of adaptive equipment. The company was founded in the 80’s with a goal of providing the best possible adaptive skiing equipment on the market. At the time, options were bleak, and the existing equipment was cumbersome and impractical. The Colorado-based company’s history is fascinating, and today they have evolved to be supplying equipment to hundreds of programs and skiiers across North America and the world. Scott Will, an adaptive athlete himself, took the time to answer some questions about how the manufacturing process looks, and how it might look in the future.
Roy Tuscay – High Fives Foundation
“After my injury I needed the outlet of skiing again. I love to go fast, I love to be adventurous, and alpine skiing in a mono-ski offered that to me. To be honest I wouldn’t be as happy. I wouldn’t be nearly as fulfilled in life if I had never found adaptive skiing.”