Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports – Making Skiing and Snowboarding Accessible to All

Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports (VASS) runs skiing and snowboarding programs for people with physical and cognitive disabilities at local Vancouver mountains. VASS is operated by volunteers, including instructors, program coordinators, and a Board of Directors, dedicated to making the mountains accessible to all, regardless of age or disability.

The program uses adaptive equipment, such as sit-skis, along with specialized teaching techniques tailored to the specific needs of the student. The instructors are trained to use the adaptive equipment and specialized teaching techniques, and are enthusiastic about sharing their love of skiing and snowboarding. Programs from beginner to advanced are offered, including snowboarding, sit-ski, stand-up skiing and advanced adaptive ski racing.

Child with Disabilities Enjoying Adaptive Skiing

As a volunteer-run, community-based program, VASS is always looking for new volunteers, either as instructors or through an administrative or fundraising role. Skiers or snowboarders who want to be teaching and helping on the mountain must attend a classroom training session focused on improving ability and knowledge of teaching the sport, followed by an on-snow training session in which they learn how to adapt their teaching plan based on their student and enhance their techniques for motivation and communication. If you are a skier or snowboarder who is passionate about making snow sports accessible to all, or if you are interested in volunteering off the mountain in fundraising, marketing, or volunteer coordination, visit for more information.

VASS seeks to enhance quality of life for people with disabilities by providing opportunities to experience the joy, freedom, health and wellness benefits of adaptive snow sports. Programs are offered at Grouse, Seymour, and Cypress Mountains from January until March each year, in the evenings or on the weekends. Two instructors are typically assigned per student, and the student works with the same instructors for the whole season. That way, the instructors know the student’s strengths and abilities, and learn how to best communicate with him or her over the course of the lessons.

Student registration for 2019 is now closed, but registration for the 2020 session opens in mid-October 2019. Students must be at least six years old. If you know someone living with a disability who is interested in learning or improving their skiing or snowboarding, more information on the program can be found at or by emailing [email protected].

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Andrea Donaldson


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