Disabled Snowsports NZ (DSNZ) is a national charitable organisation.

History of Disabled Snow Sports

Between 1995 and 2002 changes in both snow sports and sport
administration in New Zealand led to changes in the adaptive
programmes offered. This has lead to a marked change in
how people with disabilities participate in snow sports.
Through adaptive programmes on the mountain, people can
ski independently with friends and families or with groups.
The numbers of people accessing the sport independently on
a ‘pay for play’ basis is significantly increasing. A number
of sporting and disability groups are now directly involved
in offering snow sports to people with disabilities, such as
Special Olympics, DSNZ branches, Back Up NZ, RNZFB and
school groups.

Mountain Adaptive Programmes
Through Disabled Snowsports NZ, adaptive programmes have been
developed on the mountain, providing support for people with physical,
sensory and cognitive impairments. Operated by the ski areas, these
programmes provide an adaptive co-ordinator to help plan the ski
trip with instruction provided by experienced and qualified adaptive
instructors. A variety of specialist adaptive equipment (owned by DSNZ)
is available from the ski area rental departments, and some programmes
offer on-snow assistance through trained volunteers. This support gives
first timers security on the learner slopes and advanced riders support
for exploring more challenging areas. Accessibility to the ticket office,
rental department and cafés, and disabled parking at the ski areas are
factors that are recognised. The extra cost often involved in adaptive
snow sports is assisted to some extent through DSNZ membership
benefits and grants such as the Halberg Activity Fund.
High Performance & Competition
Since NZ entered its first team into the 1980 World Winter Games,
members of the NZ Disabled Ski Team have achieved an impressive
tally of 41 medals (15 Gold, 14 Silver and 12 Bronze) from Paralympic
and World Championship events. The opportunities for athletes with
disabilities will be enhanced with the inclusion across all snow sports
codes and with Paralympics NZ.
Through the work of No Exceptions in Snow Sports this can be taken
to the next level to ensure that people with a disability can choose to
enjoy the freedom of snow sports in recreation or to develop within
the sport to achieve their highest performance, in an integrated or
specialist snow sports environment.

DSNZ is a member of Snow Sports NZ and has recently integrated operations and programmes into Snow Sports NZ. DSNZ acts as a steering group to SSNZ and has seven branches around the country that offer support, trips and membership around the country.

Adaptive Snow Sports in New Zealand is run as a Not-For-Profit organisation. and a registered charity. We rely upon the generosity of our sponsors and supporters to run our programmes and to enable people with disabilities to enjoy skiing and snow boarding. Please take the time to visit our Sponsors Page and support those who have contributed so much to assist our members and the programs we run.

Support our Adaptive Programmes ....... give a donation




DSNZ has been in existence for nearly 35 years. In 1974, physiotherapist Gillian Hall, became interested in teaching people with disabilities to ski while working as a ski instructor in Europe. Support from the New Zealand Ski Instructors Alliance (NZSIA) enabled Gillian to visit the main ski areas of New Zealand in 1975 and 1976. She also visited organisations working with people with disabilities in the main cities and found support for the concept of teaching people with physical disabilities to ski.

The New Zealand Association for Disabled Skiers was formed after a small group from the Christchurch ski community met with some skiers with disabilities in the spring of 1976. The Association later became an Incorporated Society and Charitable Trust.
In 1977 funding from the Ministry of Recreation and Sport and the J.R.
McKenzie Trust enabled visits throughout New Zealand and ski weeks for people with disabilities at most larger ski areas. Later the Lotteries Board and various private trusts supported the Association's work.


In 1977 Roz Service helped with the increasing instruction load and in 1978
David Boyd became Chief Instructor. Both Roz and David have continued to support DSNZ over the years. In 1980 David took a small team of racers to Norway for their first international competition. By 1984 DSNZ racers were winning New Zealand's first ever medals for adaptive skiing in international competition. This racing success has been repeated by other skiers and the NZ Disabled Ski Team (NZDST) attends either the Paralympics
or World Championships every two years.


By 1979 DSNZ were training people to work on adaptive ski programmes as volunteer helpers and since 1980 we have trained instructors through our Adaptive Instructors’ Course which has the professional support of the NZSIA.


Between 1995 and 2002 changes in both snowsports and sport administration in New Zealand led to changes in the programmes DSNZ offered. They became increasingly involved in education of volunteers and instructors, branch structure changed, and preparation of elite athletes became extremely professional. A big demand for Adaptive Teaching skills saw twenty-eight ski and snowboard instructors take our Adaptive Instructors Courses in 2001.