• Daniel Cnossen, a Paralympic sit skier representing USA
  • Adaptations to cross country skiing for a standing skier
  • Collin Sallee, a recreations cross country sit skier in Colorado
  • Sit skiers enjoying cross country ski trails in Colorado
  • Cross country sit ski equipment at the Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass, Colorado

Promoting Inclusion and Efficiency in Cross Country Ski Instruction: The Benefits of Adaptive Accreditation over an Adaptive Certification Pathway in Ski Instructor Certification Organizations

When it comes to providing ski instruction to individuals with disabilities, creating an inclusive environment that offers equal opportunities for all is paramount. This article presents a compelling case for ski instructor certification organizations to consider adopting an adaptive accreditation program for their already certified instructors, as opposed to creating a separate certification pathway. By integrating adaptive teaching into the existing curriculum, we can ensure individuals with disabilities receive ski lessons from the same ski school as their non-disabled peers, while maintaining teaching standards and maximizing efficiency.

  1. All-Inclusive Instructors: Introducing a disability-awareness course combined with practical training can transform every competent cross country instructor into an all-inclusive instructor. Emphasizing inclusivity not only aligns with ethical considerations but also makes good business sense, as it expands the customer base and enhances the ski school's positive image.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: Developing an adaptive accreditation program is a more cost-effective approach compared to establishing a separate sport of adaptive cross country ski instruction. By integrating adaptive teaching within the existing framework, significant cost savings can be achieved by reducing expenses associated with creating new staff positions, manuals, clinics, and exams.
  3. Streamlined Education: Offering adaptive accreditation courses streamlines the educational process for instructors. Rather than requiring separate certification, instructors can build upon their existing certifications and skills to gain expertise in adaptive teaching. This approach eliminates duplication of effort, saves time and resources, and facilitates a more efficient learning experience.
  4. Accessibility and Pursuit: The complexity of a separate certification pathway may discourage many cross country ski instructors from pursuing it. Integrating adaptive accreditation ensures that instructors view adaptive teaching as an extension of their existing skill set, reducing barriers to entry and encouraging higher participation in teaching individuals with disabilities.
  5. Mainstream Integration: Incorporating adaptive teaching into the mainstream curriculum ensures that adaptive skiing remains an integral part of the overall skiing experience. Upholding consistent teaching standards, skiing techniques, technical understanding, and movement analysis across the board leads to a cohesive and unified approach to ski instruction.
  6. Flexibility and Professional Growth: Adaptive accreditation offers instructors the flexibility to choose their path of professional development. Instructors passionate about adaptive teaching can expand their skill set and knowledge through these courses, while those specializing in other areas can still acquire awareness and competencies to cater to a broader range of skiers.
  7. Expedited Progression: An adaptive accreditation program, aligned with existing certifications such as PSIA Level 1, 2, and 3 or other instructor certifying organizations, enables faster advancement within the organization compared to introducing an entirely new certification pathway. This streamlined approach accelerates the development of skills and knowledge in adaptive teaching, facilitating the rapid dissemination of expertise across the industry.
  8. Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: Adaptive accreditation fosters collaboration and knowledge sharing among instructors. Instructors with adaptive accreditation can contribute their expertise and insights, benefiting the wider instructor community. This collaborative approach encourages the exchange of best practices, innovation, and continuous improvement in adaptive teaching techniques.
  9. Enhanced Customer Experience: Offering adaptive accreditation ensures that individuals with disabilities receive instruction from a pool of skilled instructors who have undergone comprehensive training. Integrating adaptive teaching eliminates the need for separate ski schools, providing an inclusive and fulfilling skiing experience for all participants, irrespective of their abilities.
  10. Family Unity and Inclusion: Families with members of various ability levels deserve equal treatment and opportunities within the ski school setting. Separating individuals with disabilities from their non-disabled family members or friends goes against the principles of inclusion and limits the shared recreational experiences that families and groups of friends cherish.

In conclusion, implementing an adaptive accreditation program for ski instructor educational organizations, such as PSIA and others, brings forth numerous advantages in terms of inclusivity, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and enhanced skill development. By seamlessly integrating adaptive teaching within the current framework, we can create a unified and accessible environment that fosters growth, collaboration, and an exceptional experience for all participants.

About the author:

Marcin (Martin) WiesiolekMarcin (Martin) Wiesiolek is an experienced ski instructor specializing in cross country, Alpine, and adaptive skiing. He also holds a position on the Educational Staff of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Rocky Mountain Division. In addition, Marcin serves as the head coach for the Colorado Mesa University Cross Country Skiing and resides in Grand Junction, Colorado.