Ice skating is an activity that provides several recreational and competitive opportunities. Recreational participation is widely available at local ice rinks while competition includes figure and speed skating. Figure and speed skating competition are both official activities of Special Olympics International (SOI). Ice picking or ice sledding is the seated equivalent to ice skating. While sled ice racing has also been a world champion and Paralympic sport, most participation in ice sledding is recreational.
Special Olympics figure skating offers events for men and women in the singles, pairs and ice dancing competitions. Also offered are Unified Sports® events, which pair an individual with mental retardation with an individual without mental retardation in competition. Individuals are grouped in divisions based on ability levels.
Events include individual competition ranging from the 25-meter race to the 1500-meter race. Unified Sports® team competitions include events such as the 4 x 400 relay or the Unified Team Sprint. For beginning athletes or athletes with lower ability levels, events are offered such as a 25-meter straight-away sprint. For more information, contact Special Olympics International (SOI).
Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped, Inc. (SABAH)
SABAH provides weekly adaptive ice skating lessons and adaptive skating equipment to individuals with disabilities. The organization aims to help clients improve strength, balance, and self-discipline, along with acquiring new skills and overall health and wellness. SABAH works with several individuals with a wide range of disabilities. For more information, contact SABAH.
Ice Picking or Ice Sledding
Competitive ice sledding is performed on a speed skating oval or straight-away sprints. Competitive events include 100, 500, 700, 1000, and 1500 meters for both men and women. The sled used for ice picking is similar to one used in sled hockey although the ice picking sleds have longer blades and the front "runner" is usually removed. The sled is propelled by picks or shortened ski poles. For more information, contact the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) or the United States Sled Hockey Association (USSHA).
Skates and Walkers
Prosthetic skates are available for individuals with leg amputations. For more information, contact Chedoke Rehab Services.
Three skate models are available through SABAH. Model 1 is designed for people with Down's Syndrome or surgically corrected clubbed feet and is cut wider than a standard skate. Model 2 is designed for skaters who wear ankle foot orthoses (AFOs), supra-malleolar orthoses (SMOs) or reciprocating gait orthoses (RGOs). These include people with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Model 3 is designed for all skaters with disabilities who would benefit from a skate with the greater comfort provided by softer leather and increased ankle padding.
Three models of walkers are available through SABAH. Model 1 can be used by beginning skaters as well as skaters with disabilities. Model 2 is designed for skaters with disabilities who are able to walk or bear weight for limited amounts of time. Examples include skaters with cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Model 3 is designed for skaters with disabilities who have limited or no ability to bear weight.
For more information, contact SABAH.
SABAH (skates, walkers)
Jackson Skate Company (skates)
Penn Sleds (sleds)
Unique Inventions (sleds)
Ultima Skates (skates)
Chedoke Rehab Services (prosthetic skates)
For More Information
+49 (228) 2097-200
Ice Skating Institute
International Skating Union
(+41) 21 612 66 66
Ottawa-Carleton Sledge Hockey & Ice Picking Assoc.
US Sled Hockey Association
(To learn more, search the NCPAD Citation Database with the keywords: ice skating.)
The information provided here is offered as a service only. The National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, University of Illinois at Chicago, the National Center on Accessibility, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago do not formally recommend or endorse the equipment listed. As with any products or services, consumers should investigate and determine on their own which equipment best fits their needs and budget.