Learn about adaptive cross-country skiing equipment and adaptive winter programs in Massachusetts state parks.
Adaptive cross-country skiing and snowshoeing
Table of Contents
Sit ski equipment
Seated ski equipment allows you to ski from a sitting position. Sit skis and kick sleds are available for use free of charge at Leo J. Martin Memorial Ski Track in Weston. Be sure to contact Charles River Recreation to make sure the equipment is available. You will also need to make a reservation in advance and purchase a trails pass to use the equipment.
Our cross-country or Nordic sit skis have a metal frame with a seat that is mounted on cross country skis. Depending on the shape of the frame, the skier's legs extend in either a straight or bent position. Straight-leg skis offer a larger angle between the upper and lower body, for greatest power. Bent-leg skis help those without as much torso strength sit more securely in the ski. Skiers push themselves through the snow with shortened ski poles.
This equipment works best if you have previously sit skied or have good upper body athletic ability. Charles River Recreation staff can also provide adaptive cross-country skiing instruction and rentals for skiers with physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. If you would like to rent a sit ski or schedule a lesson, please contact Charles River Recreation staff via email, or call them at (617) 965-5110.
Adaptive winter outdoor programs
Accessible cross country skiing and showsnoeing are also offered each winter from January through early March as part of the Universal Access Program's adaptive winter programming. These programs provide instruction, adaptations, and support to get out in the snow, weather permitting. Our main program locations are Leo J. Martin Ski Track in Weston and Wendell State Forest in Wendell.
There is no cost for winter programming, but you must pre-register and meet our essential eligibility criteria for winter programming. Please take a look at our adaptive program schedule to see if skiing is currently being offered. If you would like to be notified of upcoming programs, please contact us to get on our mailing list.
Adaptive cross-country skiing
Our adaptive winter equipment includes cross country skis and boots, sit skis, kicksleds, and walkers with skis on the bottom. Some of the sit skis at our programs have stroller bars on the back and outriggers on the sides. The bars let a standing skier push the sit ski from behind. The outriggers provide more balance and stability.
Kicksleds are a fast and fun way to get around the snow. A wooden chair is mounted on long runners with footplates. When you are pushing the sled, you can can stand on the plates and glide along when moving quickly. You steer the sleds by twisting the flexible frame, and stop them by braking with your feet.
Sleds can also be towed. The person sitting in the sled can push with ski poles to make the ride an easier one.
Our walkers with skis can provide you with balance support that glides across the snow with you.
Our snowshoeing excursions give you staff support and guidance to navigate the woods. Kick sleds and sit skis often join in on these outings, too.