Nordic Skiing

What is Nordic Skiing?

Nordic (cross-country) skiing first appeared at the 1976 Winter Paralympic Games in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Depending on functional impairment, a competitor may use a sit-ski – a chair equipped with a pair of skis. Male and female athletes compete in short distance, middle distance and long distance (ranging from 2.5km to 20km) or participate in a team relay using classical or free techniques.

Who Can Take Part?

The competition is open to athletes with a physical impairment and blindness/visual impairment.


  • For all standing disabilities (including diplegia, hemiplegia, athetosis, ataxia).
  • Sometimes special equipment is necessary.


  • For CP-Athletes who are not able to use standing equipment.
  • No restrictions, but push up with poles should be possible.


There are no specific classes for cerebral palsy athletes in Para Nordic Skiing, but they are classified depending on which parts of their body is/are impaired, and how this affects them while skiing.

Skiers in Cross-Country and Biathlon compete in several different sport classes, depending on the activity limitation that their impairment causes.



Sport Class LW 2: The skiers have an impairment affecting one leg, for example an amputation above the knee. They will use a prosthesis and ski with two skis.

Sport Class LW 3: This sport class includes skiers with an impairment in both legs, such as muscle weakness in both legs.

Sport Class LW 4: Skiers in this sport class include those with impairments in the lower parts of one leg, but with less impact on skiing compared to LW 2. Typical examples are amputations above the ankle or loss of muscle control in one leg.


Sport Class LW 5/7: This sport class is designated for athletes with impairments in both arms that prohibit them to use ski poles. Skiers, for example, have no hands or cannot grip firmly. Therefore, you will see them skiing without poles.

Sport Class LW 6: Athletes competing in the LW 6 sport class have a significant impairment in one arm, for example a missing arm above the elbow. The impaired arm is fixed to their body and may not be used during the races. With the other hand they will use a ski pole.

Sport Class LW 8: Skiers in this sport class have moderate impairments affecting one arm. Athletes, for example, cannot flex the elbow or fingers on one side or they have a below elbow amputation. They will use one ski pole only.


Sport Class LW 9: This sport class is designed for skiers who have an impairment in arms and legs. Some of the LW9 skiers have mild co-ordination problems in all extremities. Others have amputations affecting one arm and one leg. Depending on their abilities, they will ski with one or two ski poles.


All sit-skiers have an impairment affecting their legs. They are allocated different sport classes depending on their trunk control, which is very important for acceleration and balancing during the races.

Sport Class LW 10: Skiers have an impairment that limits their leg and trunk function. They would be unable to sit without supporting themselves with the arms, for example due to paraplegia.

Sport Class LW 10.5: Skiers in this sport class also have limited trunk control, but they can keep their sitting balance when not moving sideways.

Sport Class LW 11: Skiers have a leg impairment and fair trunk control, which enables them to balance even when moving sideways.

Sport Class LW 11.5: Skiers in this sport class have near to normal trunk control.

Sport Class LW 12: Skiers in this sport class have impairments similar to those described for the sport classes LW 2-4: They have a leg impairment, but normal trunk control. They are eligible to compete standing or sitting and can chose their preferred way of skiing at their first classification.

World Para Nordic Skiing

World Para Nordic Skiing are a subcommittee of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and are the governing body for para nordic skiing and biathlon