Accessible cross-country skiing

Learn about accessible cross-country skiing opportunities in Massachusetts state parks.

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.

A skier is sitting in a sit ski with frame that bends up at the knees. The skier's kegs are strapped into the ski frame. The skier is using two short ski poles to push himself through the snow.
This skier is using a sit ski with a bent frame design.

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 cross-country skiing programs

Accessible cross country skiing is 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. You will also need to fill out a release form 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.

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.

A sit-skier is using a straight-legged ski with handles and outriggers. Two people standing behind the sit ski are pushing on the handle to move the ski up a slight hill. Another person is holding a long rope attached to the back of ski. A fourth person is jogging alongside.
This skier is using a straight-legged sit ski with handles and outriggers to enjoy the course at Leo J. Martin Ski Track.

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. The person sitting in the sled can assist with ski poles to make the ride an easier one.

Two women are using a kicksled. The woman on the back is standing on the runners, while the woman in front sits in the chair. They are sledding down a hill and laughing.
Two kicksledders try out a gentle hill.

Our walkers with skis can provide you with balance support that glides across the snow with you.

A skier is standing with bent knees, holding onto a walker that has skis attached to the bottom. A man witch cleats on his shows is standing next to the skier and smiling. Another skier is standing behind them.
A walker with skis on it offers balance support that glides across the snow.