For skiers who have a disability, it’s not always easy to hit the slopes. One mountain, in New Brunswick Canada, has recently made it easier. The lodge at Poley Mountain burned down in December 2014, and the owners used the opportunity of rebuilding to make the lodge more accessible.
The new facility has almost everything on one level, including automatic doors, wide ramps and wheelchair accessible washrooms. There’s no elevator, but everything users of the lodge need is on the main floor. The flooring is smooth, with no carpeting to impede the easy use of a wheelchair.
The hill also offers ski instruction for skiers with a disability. One instructor has a group of 25 skiers who have a disability and has had inquiries from new students this year.
Poley Mountain is not the only ski hill in Canada to provide facilities for skiers with a disability. The Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS) describes accessible services available across the country. There is also an annual week-long festival, with adaptive ski and snowboard lessons and other activities. CADS also has an instructor certification program that trains instructors specifically on adaptive snow sports.
As well, CADS partners with other organizations, such as Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance, Canadian Adaptive Alpine Snow Sports Associations, and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.