Waterloo Region Track 3 was developed to teach children with disabilities to ski. Track 3 aims to share the experience of downhill skiing with young individuals with disabilities. The program runs primarily with the support of well-trained volunteer instructors and informed parents. Core values of the Waterloo Region Track 3 program include Accessibility and Inclusion, Opportunity, Friendship and Partnership, Self-Esteem, Safety, Participation, Fun, and Innovation.
The term “Track 3” comes from the three tracks left in the snow by an amputee skier using outriggers. Outriggers are one of the many forms of adaptive equipment used in the Track 3 program, as they can provide additional stabilization and support for skiers with physical differences when needed. With the dynamic nature of the term disability, the adaptive equipment has also expanded over the years. Other forms of adaptive equipment that you might see on the hill include sit skis, harnesses, tethers, snow sliders, and identification vests (i.e. “Blind Skier/Boarder” and “Guide” vests).
The volunteer instructors are key to keeping the Track 3 program running. It’s these individuals who help share the joy of sliding with the program participants. Being a Track 3 volunteer is one of the most rewarding ways to promote winter recreation within the community. Track 3 instructors participate in classroom workshops and on-hill training to learn the specifics about the needs of the students and their disabilities. In many cases an instructor and an instructing assistant will be assigned to each student to ensure their needs are met. If instructing isn’t for you, Track 3 also needs equipment room assistants, and various other volunteers to keep the program running successfully.