PARK CITY, Utah (Nov. 26) – One of the longest standing teams in the Paralympics is changing its name to better reflect the high level of athleticism of its members to become the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team. Formerly known as the disabled team, the new Adaptive Team includes both alpine and cross country skiing in a program managed under the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team.
"The athletes of the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team are anything but disabled," said USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt. "These are some of the most physically fit and technically skilled athletes in the world. They have adapted themselves to their physical situation, and have become true world class athletes. The new name represents a much more accurate depiction of what they have accomplished."
The U.S. program has a long history, dating back to 1986 when the USSA first named what was then called the U.S. Disabled Ski Team. The Team was showcased as a demonstration event at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, then went on to become one of the leaders in the Paralympics, which began in 1992 in Albertville, France.
Similar to its able-bodied counterparts, the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team competes every year in a season long World Cup circuit for both alpine and cross country organized under the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The sport is also recognized by the International Ski Federation (FIS). Both alpine and cross country will have World Championships in the upcoming 2008-09 season, as well as Paralympics in Vancouver in 2010.
The program continues to be organized through the USSA similarly to those in able-bodied sports, and utilizes the same brand logo as the U.S. Ski Team. The U.S. Adaptive Alpine Ski Team will open its season Dec. 5-7 at The Hartford Ski Spectacular with races in Copper Mountain. The cross country team opens with the ConocoPhillips U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Anchorage in early January.