Ever wonder what the second largest sporting event in the world is? We are here to answer your top questions about experiencing the outdoors as a person with a disability.
What are some resources for getting outside for people with disabilities?
Find a local adaptive sports center. An adaptive sports center is hands down the best place that you could go.
What are adaptive sports?
They’re just sports but they’re done with adaption. Some individuals use bi skis or mono skis or other types of adaptations to allow them to experience the sport in a way that it’s still just the sport.
What pillars of adaptive sports does High Fives Foundation support?
We focus on motorsport, we focus on skiing and snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking, and then also fly fishing.
How has gear evolved to help people get outside with disabilities?
One of the biggest things that we’re seeing in mono skis and adaptive bikes and other types of equipment is the increase to suspension in the way that dampening and rebounding can be put forth not only in bikes, in sit skis as well. But what you’re seeing is the suspension is allowing for the rebound to not be violent. And it’s also allowing for individuals to explore beyond what was ever possible.
What are the types of adaptive skiing?
There’s many, but let’s first define the ways that someone might use it. So Adaptive Nordic is gonna be mostly in a sitting or a kneeling position using traditional Nordic poles but you’re gonna be pushing yourself along either seated or kneeling so that’s Adaptive Nordic. Adaptive skiing in the Alpine sense, there’s really three buckets that you can look at. You can look at a bi ski, which is a bucket on top of two skis that has independent articulating suspension to allow the two skis to operate. The other is mono skiing, very traditional, what you see majority of the time one ski on top of a bucket. Then there’s four tracking and three tracking, individuals with lower extremity mobility issues that still have the strength like myself to be able to stand but don’t have the balance or the core to be able to ski as an able body, it’s called four tracking. snow.
How can we all make the outdoors more accessible?
If more and more people would lead with curiosity instead of accusation the outdoors would become so much more accessible to all just from a visual standpoint. And what we mean by that is instead of questioning when you see something that looks out of the norm in an area where you usually see.
I was never really outdoorsy before my spinal cord injury. Can I get into adaptive sport and how?
Yes, maybe even your life changing injury, this spinal cord injury is actually gonna fuel the fire for you to have a new passion. And if you have these life changing injuries is how can we find the positive out of the negative, you might even get into it more than you ever expected because you’re gonna meet a community that way. You’re also gonna find that, sport is a byproduct of community. So if you all of a sudden start getting into a sport maybe it’s adaptive mountain biking. Well now you’re gonna have friends that are able body and adaptive mountain bikers that you can go out on the trails with and you’ll watch your community will start to grow.
Can I use the motorized wheelchair on public lands trails even when no motorized vehicles are allowed?
Yes you can. Because your motorized wheelchair is made specifically for individuals with disabilities. Now, if it was a segue, which is not made specifically for individuals, it is made for mainstream that means that that right there does not qualify itself for that type of exemption. Go check out an individual by the name Quinn Brett. She’s on Instagram, she works for the national parks, she has a spinal cord injury. She knows more about trails, trails rights and everything. If you want a great explanation of this go look up Quinn Brett.
What are some barriers to the outdoors that people without disabilities might not recognize?
The biggest thing is to never assume that you understand whatever the trail ahead may be like for the person with a disability. If it’s hiking, if it’s mountain biking, if it’s climbing if it’s skiing or snowboarding, never assume that what you are about to say to them, it’s super easy, don’t worry about it . Unfortunately, this person might not have done it all the time and they might also be new to the sport. So the best thing to do we think in this one is again, go back to curiosity here. What do you think about going down this trail? How could we do it and how could we assist you? Should we go first? Should we go second? Do you want some assistance here? Is there any ways we can be a second eye for you? The best thing that you can do is provide as much support and curiosity into how to get that person through that trail. If it’s skiing, riding, hiking, climbing whatever it may be, but never assume that you understand what that’s gonna look like, we think that’s the biggest takeaway.
Layering tips for people with disabilities?
Persons with disabilities especially spinal cord injuries, one of the biggest takeaways that a lot of people don’t understand is that blood circulation doesn’t happen below the level of injury for a lot of folks. One of the most important things that you can do is keeping your core warm and keeping your insulated body heated.
Who was the first person with a disability to summit Mount Everest?
The first person ever with a disability to climb Mount Everest was Tom Whittaker.
What is the second largest sporting event in the world?
The second largest sporting of event in the world is the Paralympics which have up exactly a month later in the same host city in the same nation, check out the Paralympics, they’re incredible. Some of the coolest things happening this year will be coming from Beijing, China 30 days after the Olympics, winter Paralympics happening.
How can we help to normalize adaptive sports?
The biggest way to normalize adaptive sports is to stop thinking that every single time that you see a person doing it’s inspiring or going up to him being like "you just made my day because seeing you out here just made me realize my life’s not that tough" it’s not really the best thing you can do. Better conversation way of being like, "wow I just saw you shred the most epic turn in that thing, how did you that?" just like you would ask a normal person. An athlete is anybody with a goal. And that is something that we all can contest to able or adaptive that we all have goals within sport.
Who are some adaptive athletes to follow on social media, to gain some insight into adaptive sport?
Trevor Kennison is definitely one. Another guy we love to follow Evan Strong, he’s a below knee amputee on the us Paris snowboard team.
How many categories of Paraclimbing are there?
There are number of categories that exist in Parasurfing. There are nine there are nine total categories in Parasurfing, nine different divisions that all work at different ways of classifying their disability to make sure that people are competing within their classification and that their disability doesn’t have to be handicapped and that they can just participate in sport in a normalized way.
What are the different types of adaptive bicycle options and how do I choose one?
What type of riding do you wanna do? Do you wanna ride bikes on the road, on trails, on dirt? Do you wanna try to ride bikes that hit jumps or drop cliffs? All those different things will play into factor into what type of bike you want. Right now the bike that is getting the most attention is a bowhead which is an electric driven mountain bike. So it’s really good to go to an adaptive sports center try out all the different ones, try out road bikes try out mountain bikes, try out all the different pieces of adaptive equipment, whatever creates joy for you will create the best opportunity and the best experience on that bike for you.
What is something I can do today to be an assistance to adaptive riders?
Be curious, never do anything without asking for permission first. So if you’re gonna help someone make sure they know what you’re about to do unless it’s some type of an emergency where you think this person’s gonna go off and they’re gonna end up off a cliff, just grab onto the bike and go, that’s one of those exceptions but majority of the time communicate, how can I help you? How can I assist you? We think those are really important questions to ask, because if you’re being curious and you’re not at any time assuming that you know the answer you don’t understand their disability like they do but they can easily provide the feedback to you so that you can understand their disability.