Kirkwood Ski School
With the deepest, driest snow around and some of North America's most diverse and challenging terrain, Kirkwood offers some of the best high alpine advanced terrain in the country for the intermediate and advanced skier – 90% of our runs are rated intermediate or above.  In conjunction with our equal access/nondiscrimination policy for all programs and buildings and the U.S. Forest Service’s Accessibility Guidebook for Ski Areas Operating on Public Lands, Vail Resorts has established the Essential Eligibility Criteria (“EEC”) listed below for Ski and Snowboard School Lessons.  The purpose of essential eligibility criteria is to give our guests and employees the information they need to establish whether or not an individual can participate in an activity based on his or her ability to perform the basic functions of that specific activity (e.g. class lessons).  In order to participate in an activity, all guests must be able to meet all of the essential eligibility criteria for the activity.

Group Lesson Inclusion Program and Assessment

If it is unclear whether or not an individual meets the EEC for participating in group lessons, but the individual would like to participate in a group lesson, the individual must be assessed by an instructor or supervisor prior to being included in group lessons. 

Individuals interested in the inclusion program will need to book an adaptive lesson  at least 72 hours in advance to ensure a qualified instructor is available.  The instructor will work with the student (and the student’s parents or guardian if the student is a minor) to determine whether the individual meets the EEC for group lessons and the best lesson placement.  

To be eligible for the Group Lesson Inclusion Program and Assessment, the individual must the following Essential Eligibility Criteria:

  • Properly take on and take off equipment
  • Get up after falling, re-adjust equipment as necessary and continue on with the assessment
  • If the desired group lesson is advanced beginner or above, the guest must be able to  load, ride and unload a  ski lift safely
  • If the desired group lesson is advanced beginner or above, the guest must be able to ski within the lesson’s intended participant level (same terrain and speed as the intended  group, i.e. intermediate skiing abilities to participate in an intermediate lesson). 
  • The guest must not interfere with the instructor’s ability to provide instruction to the guest
  • The guest must not present a safety risk to themselves or others.

If a guest does not meet the EEC for the desired group lessons after being assessed by the instructor or a supervisor, one of the following will be provided:

  • Inclusion into the class lesson product with mild adaptation (e.g., a smaller class or an  instructor with adaptive experience).
  • Inclusion into a class lesson product with the assistance of an integrated Ski Buddy provided through the Adaptive Ski and Snowboard School. To ensure a qualified instructor is available this must be pre-arranged with a minimum of 72 hour’s notice
  • Private Adaptive Lesson offered at a discounted rate, scheduled through the Ski and Snowboard School, which will be adapted to the needs of the guest and endeavor to integrate with a class lesson throughout the day.

In either of the first two alternatives, further assessment will take place during the course of the lessons. If the student cannot participate within the reasonable scope of the lesson or if there is a safety risk to themselves or others, the Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School has the right to suggest an alternative program that may be better suited for the individual.

Although every situation is unique to the individuals and groups involved, the above scenarios are possible ways to provide inclusion for those guests who may need a personalized level of inclusion. The choice of scenario is a collaborative effort between instructors, supervisors, and families to determine the most appropriate fit for the individual guest. All parties involved must be in agreement that the inclusion scenario not only benefits the student in the inclusion program, but also does not fundamentally alter the program for all other students as well. The Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School reserves the right to suggest an alternative inclusion scenario or, in cases where guests in the group lesson product perceive that their lesson experience has been compromised by the inclusion, no inclusion at all.

Essential Eligibility Criteria for Participating in Group Lessons

There is a basic level of function that must be met by all individuals participating in ski or snowboard group lessons. For some individuals, the basic level of function can be achieved with additional assistance or other reasonable accommodation. The following Essential Eligibility Criteria lists the most basic functions necessary to allow for the safe participation in a ski or snowboard group lesson format. Although this list is comprehensive, there may be situations and variables that do not appear below and there are many different situations (such as weather, crowds, group dynamics, etc.) that make it impossible to list below and there are many different situations (such as weather, crowds, group dynamics, etc.) that make it impossible to list every form in which inclusion may take place.  The Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School reserves the right to determine additional criteria at any time. It is the goal of the Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School to provide a positive group lesson inclusion experience not only for the individual, but for all other guests participating in the group lesson product.

Physical Abilities

1. Basic Participation
The student is able to do the following, either independently or with the assistance of a companion:
  • Properly put on and take off equipment;
  • Load, ride and unload lifts safely, as outlined by the NSAA in  “ Your Responsibility Code ";
  • Ski or snowboard on level-appropriate* trails and areas, to control speed and to return to the base area; Travel at the same rate of speed as the group;
  • Get up after falling, re-adjust equipment as necessary and continue on with the group in a reasonable amount of time;
  • Attend lunch, visit restrooms, stop with the group on a trail or maneuver in a lift line.
  • Perform all functions of the lesson within a reasonable time frame (without holding up the movement of the entire group);
  • Continue with the group throughout the day without causing detours in terrain selection, additional breaks or other changes in the normal course of the lesson plan as designed for the entire group; and
  • Follow “Your Responsibility Code.”

2. Safety Considerations
The student is able to do the following:
  •  Travel with the group at a similar rate of speed using the same basic turn shape as the rest of the group. Example: If the group travels down the mountain slowly, links turns with a traverse and stops together at the side of the hill, the student with a disability should be able to perform the same basic tasks, either independently or with the assistance of a companion. An example of unacceptable participation might be if the student with a disability travels straight down the hill at a high rate of speed, causing a safety risk for himself and those around him.
  • Negotiate level-appropriate terrain without hindering the experience of other lesson participants or causing risk to personal safety.
Example: If a student is signed up for a Level 5 intermediate skiing lesson, the group negotiates trails with the designated difficulty of green and easy blue.  Depending on weather, snow conditions, crowds and other factors, typical Level 5 students can ski successfully in a variety of natural situations occurring on the mountain. The student with a disability should be able to negotiate the same terrain and conditions (either with or without the assistance of a companion).
 

Cognitive Abilities / Behavior


1. Basic Participation
The student is able to do the following, either independently or with the assistance of a companion or interpreter:

  • Identify who the instructor is for the day;
  • Communicate personal needs to the instructor;
  • Follow directions as communicated by the instructor;
  • Not require extra attention from the instructor that distracts from his/her reasonable care of the entire group;
  • Follow procedures for inadvertent separation from the group as outlined by the Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School;
  • Maintain a reasonable level of willingness, desire and motivation to participate in the sport of skiing or snowboarding in a group lesson environment.

2. Safety Considerations
The student is able to do the following, either independently or with the assistance of a companion:
  • Understand the cause and effect relationships in which an action or behavior may place the physical safety of himself or others at risk;
  • Example: Understanding that turning (either independently or with the assistance of a companion) controls the rate of descent down the mountain, and failure to do so could result in an injury.
  • Example: Understanding that traveling too close to another student (either independently or with the assistance of a companion) may cause a collision with that person, which may result in injury.
  • Maintain the amount of attention and focus necessary to participate in a changing outdoor mountain environment, while being cognizant of the environment and other people within the environment, for the duration of the lesson; and
  • Maintaining the amount of attention and focus necessary to participate in an indoor, noisy and possibly chaotic lunch environment (during an all-day group lesson format).

Personal Companion Guidelines

A guest may have a companion or guide that assists them with their skiing or snowboarding experience. Typically a companion is someone who knows the individual personally and has assisted in other experiences ranging from everyday living to travel or other sports.

There are instances where a companion is actually detrimental to the safety and productive flow of a ski or snowboard lesson. The following is a list of reminders for companions when participating in a lesson with the Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School:

  • With regard to skiing or riding activity, the instructor is the primary decision-maker for the student.
  • Companions that are not specially trained, will be allowed to participate in the inclusion program on a case by case basis.
  • For their own safety and the safety of the class, companions must have an adequate ski or snowboard skill level (6 or above as outlined in the Ski and Snowboard School level assessment guide).

Equipment Use

Individuals with disabilities may use any adaptive equipment that is designed and manufactured solely for use by individuals with disabilities, for example snow monoskis, biskis, outriggers, and sitskis.  

Permissible equipment in other seasons includes any device that meets the definition of a wheelchair, which is defined as a manually-operated or power driven device designed primarily for use by an individual with a mobility disability with the main purpose of indoor, or indoor and outdoor, locomotion.  Motorized use of devices that do not meet the definition of a wheelchair may only be operated on the National Forest’s travel management plan designations. 

Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School has standardized adaptive equipment available for rent upon at least 72 hours advance notice.  Available standardized adaptive equipment include outriggers, ski tip stabilizers, and blind bibs.  Guests who require specialized adaptive equipment will need to provide their own. 

Conclusion
All guests are welcome and important at the Kirkwood Ski and Snowboard School. Our goal is to provide a professional level of care and service that creates the best possible experience for each and every individual visiting our resorts. The guidelines presented in this document are designed to help students, their family members and their specially-trained instructors make the best decisions for all parties concerned. It is impossible to list every scenario that may occur and we recognize that every person is special, valued and important. We hope that we will be able to accommodate every guest and provide them with an experience of a lifetime!

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