The first stage of a research project aiming to improve the classification system for physically impaired skiers took place at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, between 15-16 January.
The purpose of the research is to collect data that shows the functional capabilities and impairments of athletes currently competing at the highest level of para-alpine skiing, and to investigate the relationship between impairment profiles and athletic performance.
Athletes are being invited to take part in the project and in Kranjska Gora 24 skiers from eight countries participated.
Sandra Titulaer, Head of Classification on IPC Alpine Skiing and Snowboard’s Sport Technical Committee (STC), described the tests undertaken: “The assessment consists of a brief questionnaire and a physical assessment, and for the sitting classes a functional test on the balance board.
“These tests are the same as used at a regular classification assessment, although for research we take a wider range of measurements.
“All athletes were very helpful and worked hard in the tests. Coaches and athletes were all very interested and gave good additional input.”
The next round of research will take place in Aspen, Colorado, USA, at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals between 24-26 February (technical) and 28 February-4 March (speed).
All athletes are invited to take part, including those from visually impaired classifications which is undergoing a separate study.
The research is a result of an expert meeting in Barcelona, Spain in July 2014. Experienced coaches, classifiers, athletes and STC members discussed the characteristics of the sport and different impairment profiles, identifying potential gaps in knowledge.
Those interested in participating in the research, including their coaches and teams, can contact IPC Alpine Skiing via email. [email protected]