Activity 68/150

Downhill Skiing

Downhill skiing is a recreational activity that involves sliding down snow-covered hills on skis with fixed heel bindings.


Downhill skiing as a recreational activity originated in Europe hundreds of years ago. Downhill or alpine racing is a modern (last 150 years) version of the recreational pastime.

Downhill ski hills are readily available in many parts of Canada. Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario that are well known for their varying difficulty and accessibility.

How to play
Downhill skiing is a high-risk recreational activity. Make sure to have proper instruction your first time on the slopes. Downhill skiing involves taking a ski lift (rope tow, t-bar or chair lift) to the top of an incline and then sliding down the hill, on your skis, to the bottom. The sport is accessible for all abilities and adaptations often include the use of sit skis, outriggers or guides for individuals with visual impairments. Variations of the sport also include freestyle, ski cross, aerials and moguls, as well as backcountry skiing. For more information visit Alpine Canada or the Canadian Ski Council.

Suggested equipment
- Skis and poles
- Helmet
- Gloves
- Warm clothing
- Goggles

Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.


A person with a visual impairment may choose to downhill ski with a friend to provide directional cues or even use a tether. A participant may have more success by having a volunteer on either side of them and holding a long pole held on by all 3 people. Choose the slope that is right for you. Consider different types of lifts like the magic carpet or a chair lift.

Learning/Cognitive Disabilities

Ski with a buddy. Choose a location that provides the right slope and the ski lift that suits the participant. Consider using a long pole with 2 volunteers on each side to get started. Progress to the level of activity desired. Have fun!

Mobility Limitation

Many ski resorts have adapted equipment such as sit skis and have trained instructors. For more information contact Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing. Also you may wish to modify the activity and go tobogganing if that is your choice.


Benefits of Downhill Skiing

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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Michelle Murray
Communications Coordinator