What is Alpine Skiing?
Para alpine skiing is practised worldwide and features six disciplines: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G, super combined, and team events. Athletes combine speed and agility while racing down slopes at speeds of around 100km/h
Who Can Take Part?
Male and female athletes with a physical impairment such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy, amputation and blindness/visual impairment can take part in Alpine Skiing. Athletes compete in three categories based on their functional ability, and a results calculation system allows athletes with different impairments to compete against each other. Some athletes use equipment that is adapted to their needs including single ski, sit-ski or orthopaedic aids.
There are no specific classes for cerebral palsy athletes in Para Alpine Skiing, but they are classified depending on which parts of their body is/are impaired, and how this affects them while skiing.
SPORT CLASSES LW 1-9: STANDING SKIERS
Sport Class LW 1: This sport class is allocated to athletes with an impairment that strongly affects both legs, for example an above knee amputation of both legs or significant muscle weakness in both legs.
Sport Class LW 2: Skiers have a significant impairment in one leg. Some skiers, for example, have an impaired leg from birth. You will see them ski with one ski only.
Sport Class LW 3: This sport class is for athletes who have a moderate impairment in both legs. They will ski with two skis and prosthesis. Some LW 3 skiers have mild coordination problems or muscle weakness in both legs, or a below knee amputation in both legs.
Sport Class LW 4: Similar to skiers in Sport Class LW 2, LW 4 skiers have an impairment in one leg only, but with less Activity Limitation. A typical example is a below knee amputation in one leg. They will use two skis during the race.
Sport Class LW 5/7: Athletes in this Sport Class ski with an impairment in both arms. Some athletes have amputations and others have limited muscle power or coordination problems. They will race down the slopes without ski poles.
Sport Class LW 6/8: Skiers have an impairment in one arm. Skiers will compete with one ski pole only.
Combined arm and leg impairments:
Sport Class LW 9: Skiers in this Sport Class have an impairment that affects arms and legs. Some skiers in this class have coordination problems, such as spasticity or some loss of control over one side of their body. Depending on their abilities, they will ski with one or two skis and one or two poles.
SPORT CLASSES LW 10-12: SIT-SKIERS
All sit-skiers have an impairment affecting their legs. They are allocated different sport classes depending on their sitting balance, which is very important for acceleration and balancing during the races.
Sport Class LW 10: Skiers in this Sport Class have no or minimal trunk stability, for example due to spinal cord injuries or spina bifida. They therefore rely mainly on their arms to manoeuvre the sit-ski.
Sport Class LW 11: Skiers have good abilities in their upper trunk, but very limited control in their lower trunk and hips, as it would be the case for skiers with lower spinal cord injuries.
Sport Class LW 12: This sport class includes skiers with normal or only slightly decreased trunk function and leg impairments. Skiers with leg impairments in Sport Classes LW 1-4 often also fit this sport class, so that they can choose if they want to ski sitting or standing in the beginning of their career.
World Para Alpine Skiing
World Para Alpine Skiing are a subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and are the governing body for para alipne skiing. Five events are on the Paralympic programme: downhill, super-G, super combined, giant slalom, and slalom.