Ski Area Access

ADA Accessibility Guidelines for Outdoor Recreation Areas: Ski Facilities

For more information about Accessibility Guidelines, go to the Access Board's web site at

Snow Facility Accessibility

Recreation Access Advisory Committee Recommendations (separate from ANSI B77)

All built structures, indoor and out, should comply with ADAAG, including, but not limited to: cafeteria and dining areas, retail areas, locker rooms, automated teller machines, interior and exterior ramps, multiple and single use restrooms, elevators, parking areas, passenger loading zones, curb ramps, walkways, and exterior stairways.

Parking -- ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) 4.6.1 - 4.6.6

A maximum distance of 300 feet to the base area facility should exist. The parking surface should be a maximum of 3% slope in all directions. The surface should be firm and stable, and may be covered with snow.

Public Transportation

Specifications for accessible transportation are already contained within ADA legislation, however the provision to carry adaptive ski equipment has been added to Snow Facility Access Recommendations.

Drop-off Locations

Should be as close as possible to the entrance of the base area facility, with a maximum distance of 100 feet. An access route should exist linking the parking to the base area facility, the drop-off area to the base area facility, the base area facility to the staging area, and from the staging area to the on-mountain facility. Access routes should meet the requirements of Outdoor Recreation Access routes with firm and stable surfaces, which may be structural and/or snow. Due to the snow environment, they may not necessarily be slip resistant.

Base Area Facilities

Must comply with ADAAG, including bathrooms, showers, ski storage, shops, locker and changing areas, day care facilities, cafeterias, restaurants, ski school, ski repair, ski patrol, first aid, ticket windows, and map and information areas.

On Mountain Facilities

Must comply with ADAAG. Common adaptive equipment must be available, including wheelchairs and crutches, to enable adaptive skiers to utilize on-mountain facilities. A call button or phone access should be provided to enable the skier to contact the personnel within the on-mountain facility.

Ski Storage Area

Shall accommodate sit-skis, mono-skis, bi-skis, artificial legs, wheelchairs, and other adaptive equipment.

Skier Staging Area

A level area for putting on or removing adaptive ski equipment shall be provided. This staging area shall be adjacent to the base or on-mountain facility a maximum of 300 feet away. It shall be a minimum of 8 by 20 feet, with a maximum of 3-1/2% cross slope. It shall be as level as possible, with a maximum of 3-1/2% slope in any direction. There shall be a snow access route between the staging area and the lift facility serving the easiest ski trails. It shall be designed to be maintainable with snow grooming equipment. If the lift is below the base area facility, it is acceptable to provide an easier ski trail for access.

When the lift is on level terrain or uphill, it shall be a maximum of 600 feet from the skier staging area, with a 5% maximum grade and a level landing at the 300 feet interval. The cross slope shall be a maximum of 3-1/2%, with a firm and stable sub-surface. The width shall be a minimum of 8 feet.

Rest Points

A seat or chair shall be provided adjacent to the corral area for persons with endurance limitation.

Communication Devices

Shall be provided for persons with hearing impairments. Signage shall be in compliance with ADAAG.

Design of Access Accomodations for Ski Areas

A Draft American National Standard for Adaptive Skiing Equipment has been developed. It includes general requirements for the equipment and specific requirements for the evacuation harness, retention device, braking mechanism, skid plate effectiveness, and center of mass location. To test the evacuation harness, both the loaded drop test and the static load test have been developed. Specifications for the material and the harness, as well as its attachment and instructions for use are specified.

The design and construction of retention devices is also addressed in the Standard. Strength and performance testing procedures are outlined, as well as the strength and tensioning mechanisms.

Manufacturers of adaptive equipment with lifting mechanisms are to disclose the forces required to actuate the mechanism, as well as the number of times required for the actuator to lift into a load position. The dimensions of the adaptive equipment shall be included, including the length and width of the skid plate, the loading height, and the angle of the skid plate in both skiing and loading position. Dimensional disclosures for the adaptive equipment are provided to enable better selection by adaptive skiers and programs. The effectiveness of the skid plate is tested by determining the force to pull the loaded sit ski, mono ski or bi ski forward on a 12 degree seat. The center of mass location is determined by determining how far the adaptive skier must be slid forward on the seat before it reaches its balance point.

American National Standard for Adaptive Sports Equipment 6-22-99

Sit-skis, Mono-skis and Bi-skis (SMBs)


  1. General Requirements
  2. Evacuation Harnesses
  3. Retention Devices
  4. Lifting Mechanisms
  5. SMB Dimensions
  6. Skid Plate Effectiveness
  7. Braking Mechanisms
  8. Center of Mass Location
  9. Holding Points and Pinch Points
  10. Requirements for Documentation, Labeling, and Disclosure

Normative Annex

Data Form for Testing

Informative Annex

Information Disclosure on Manufacturer's Specification Sheets

For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..