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Para Nordic Skiing

Para Nordic skiing is a parasport in which participants race across relatively flat, snow-covered terrain using skis and poles. In cross country skiing, only the toe is attached to the ski, thus allowing the heel to lift freely; this allows for greater maneuverability when skiing uphill or across uneven terrain. Para Nordic skiing can include both cross-country races, which range in distance from 2.5-20 km, and biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting for accuracy. Various adaptations are made based on participants' level of ability; for example, some athletes with lower-body impairments use sit-skis and visually impaired athletes shoot based on sound emanating from the targets.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Para cross-country skiing

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

As a sport, cross-country ski races were first organized in the 1760s for members of the Norwegian military. Cross-country skiing was introduced to Canada in the 1890s and quickly became a popular form of recreation and sport. Para cross-country skiing gained popularity and became a Paralympic sport in the 1970s.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages and ethnocultural backgrounds with a range of visual impairments and physical disabilities.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Para Nordic skiing competitions occur throughout the winter.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

While there are no para-nordic focused clubs in the GTA, many participants from Toronto visit Kawartha Nordic Ski Club and Highlands Nordic Ski Club. Each club offers para-nordic specific programming. The sport is primarily organized by Ontario’s Para-Nordic Program.

Cultural Significance


Is there anything else we should know?



  • Kawartha Nordic Ski Club
    Nordic Ski Lane
    Harcourt, ON K0L 1A0
  • Highlands Nordic
    1182 Nottawasaga Rd
    Concession 10
    Duntroon, ON L0M 1H0

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