Skiing is a fun snow sport loved by many, but certain disabilities can become a hindrance to taking on regular skiing. Four trackers in skiing are designed to help people with certain disabilities ski. This kind of skiing is called four-track skiing.
In addition to the two full skis, there are two handheld outriggers with ski tips at the end. That way, the skier has four points of contact with the snow, and that results in four tracks as they move, hence the name.
When it comes to winter hobbies, skiing can be an ideal recreational activity for most people. Tourists love to glide over the snow when visiting ski destinations in winter. However, when it comes to skiing, people with some disabilities may think it’s not a sport for them, but with the help of four-tracker skiing, they can also enjoy it.
Who Is It For?
Skiing four-track is adaptable to a variety of disabilities. The skiers use two full-sized skis and two handheld outriggers for balance tracking. Due to four-tracking, skiers manage stability by making contact on four sides of the snow.
The outriggers play a significant role in such stable skiing as it comes with short ski tips that are primarily used for balancing. A person who can stand or has an artificial limb or has some kind of injury may be capable of four-tracking.
Typically, four-track skiing is for people with the following disabilities:
- Lower extremity amputation
- Cerebral palsy
- Spinal cord injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spina bifida
Individuals who lack lateral controls and find it hard to hold a wedge need to practice ski plans and work on their progress. On the other hand, individuals with lateral controls need to follow the holding progression for better skiing.
Equipment for Four-Track Skiing
While going for four-tracking, make sure you get a check on the equipment list. Here are the must-haves:
Skis: Two full-size skis are necessary for adults. As a beginner, you can opt for Alpine skis and beginners skis.
Outriggers: You need two outriggers with small ski tips. You should be at a distance of one inch from the snow while standing on the outrigger ski. If you are a beginner, go for a more extended outrigger to ignore the stooping posture that might bring more pressure to the heels than a balanced tall stance. While standing, the grips need to be approximately on the hip level of the skier.
Slant Boards: For the skier’s balance over the ski, slant boards are great assistance that comes with attached bindings that can be adjusted according to the skier’s angle. This equipment might be suggested in some cases for achieving a flat ski. Also, make sure to get bindings attached by a certified technician.
Boots: Some warm, cozy, and comfortable boots appropriate for skiing are essential. To achieve an athletic posture over a flat ski, you can adjust the boots by utilizing lifts and wedges.
Helmets: A ski helmet is vital for head protection, so make sure to get one.
Things to Consider
There are other considerations that need to be taken into account before an individual can go for four-track skiing. For instance, is the person using crutches while walking, or is the person already in a wheelchair?
How long they can walk or stand without any assistance, or is the person wearing full or half braces and finds it hard to bend. Can the person move legs independently from all sides? Are they having difficulties moving both legs?
If the individual cannot move both legs and has an injury in one side of the body, they will lack lateral control throughout the skiing. If the person is weak in lateral control because of a leg injury, then using a tip stabilizer that is a bungee cord attached to the ski tips allows the skiers to control the weaker side.
All these queries need to be considered while going for four-tracking skiing.
Your ski trainer will help you determine the exact equipment you need and the adjustments you may need according to your condition.
If it’s your first time trying four trackers in skiing, many ski resorts provide equipment and training courses with certified trainers. You can learn it from professionals if you want to take up four-track skiing before doing it on your own.
Four-tracking skiing can help you get started with your first snow ride if you cannot ski with just two skis because of a disability.
Keep in mind the critical element is the progression period because even with the support of outriggers, it will take some time to learn the ins and outs of four-track skiing. The more you progress on the holds, the smoother ride you will experience, which is the primary purpose of four-tracker skiing.