World Para Nordic Skiing and the International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS) will host an historic camp and competition for skiers with intellectual impairments in Bessans, France, from 9-14 December.
The aim of the event – which is the first of its kind – is to understand the sport with a view to creating a regular programme of competitions under World Para Nordic Skiing.
All athletes registered with INAS and with a World Para Nordic Skiing license can take part.
Dimitrije Lazarovski, Head of World Para Snow Sports, said:
“One of our main priorities is to create possibilities for more athletes and more impairment groups to be involved in the snow sports. This is a very important initiative and it will provide us with a better understanding of the next steps in the process.
“There still is a lot of work ahead but we are confident we are on the right path to bring in new athletes into Para Nordic skiing.”
Marc Truffaut, INAS President, said:
“We are thrilled to be working with World Para Nordic Skiing to grow the reach of winter Para sports and include different impairment groups. One of INAS’ key roles is to create a pathway for more athletes with intellectual impairments to compete at the highest levels.
“This project shows that we are meeting our target to be the world leader in this field and I would like to thank World Para Nordic Skiing for partnering with us.
“I encourage all athletes, members and National Paralympic Committees to join us at the start of this exciting journey.”
A further two camps in Ostersund, Sweden, and Sapporo, Japan are planned for January and March 2019. In Bessans, the Chairperson of the INAS Skiing Committee, Hideki Arai, will be the technical delegate.
As well as the introduction of the first competitions, Ostersund will allow researchers to continue data collection for the classification system for Nordic skiers with intellectual impairments.
This work is coordinated by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Classification and Development Centre at Leuven University in Belgium in partnership with University of Gaevle, Sweden.
INAS has been holding World Championships for Nordic skiers with intellectual impairments every year for more than 10 years as the current governing body.
The organisation is also in charge of eligibility, a process which athletes must go through to establish if they have an eligible impairment. They can then go through classification with the relevant International Federation.