Sitski Tetherer Quick Reference Guide (QRG)

Inexperienced to Intermediate Tethering


CADS Mission

Canadian Adaptive Snowsports (CADS) provides opportunities for people with disabilities to experience the joy of participating and competing in alpine snowsports. CADS achieves this by developing and promoting adaptive snowsports through partnerships, training and instructor certification programs.

Alpine Responsibility Code & Terminology


  • The person in the sitski is referred to as the sitskier or skier
  • The person attached to the sitski via the tethers is referred to as the tetherer or sitski instructor
  • The person teaching the tetherer is the tetherer instructor or tetherer coach
  • The program coordinator is the person in charge of the overall program where the instruction and skiing takes place
  • The Mount Pakenham CADS program daily supervisor is the senior instructor assigned as the point of contact for all CADS related matters at the hill for that day and/or evening
  • A biski is a sitski that uses 2 skis (with or without handheld outriggers)
  • A quadski is a biski with fixed outriggers attached
  • A monoski is a sitski with only 1 ski attached


        Enabling Technologies Sitski

        Dynamique Biski

        Enabling Technologies Dynamique Biski

        Weight – 43 pounds

        Dynamique Quadski

        CADS Mt Pakenham Canuck 1 (in Canada 150 Colours)

        Weight – 50 pounds with fixed outriggers, skier handle, wide instructor handle & full foot plate

        Monique Monoski

        Enabling Technologies Monique Monoski

        Weight – 38 pounds

        Parts of a Sitski

        Biski Rear View Single Tether Mounting Point Bitski Rear View Dual Tether Mounting Points Biski Side View Exploded Parts

        The Basics

        Key Principle: Learning by Doing

        • Learning to be a tetherer is a process, one that can take many hours of practice to master.
        • Learning is focused on understanding the tetherers role, the equipment and the basics of sitskiing and sitski tethering.
        • Good tethered sitskiing is a combination of “an art and a science” – a good tetherer is an artist who works in concert with a sitskier generating an experience like a smooth flowing, synchronized and effortless dance down the hill – to get to this point, a good understanding of the physics of the sitski and the hill are important.

        Role of a Tetherer

        • Safety
        • Fun Generator
        • Assist with skiing
        • Coaching/instruction: Sitskier learning & improvement while having fun
        • Mentor
        • Ski buddy

        Basic Skills required of a Tetherer

        • Having Fun while being Safe
        • The 4 Cs:
          • Compassion, Communication, Confidence, Control
        • Ability to snowplow and hockey stop (edge control)
        • Intermediate or better skier
        • 360-degree situation awareness
        • Ability to Multi-Task

        Most Important Thing you can do to assist a Sitskier in Turning

        • Put the Sitski on Edge

        Key Learning Points and Tethering Exercises

        Key Learning Points

        • Helmets are mandatory
        • CADS jackets preferred – Vests mandatory for those without jackets
        • Weight considerations
        • Hill space required for a tethered sitski (see graphic below)
        • Use of Blockers – back and/or front
        • Understanding degrees and the clock system (see graphic below)
        • Stay away from the very edge of runs and coming too close to obstacles
        • Speed management
        • Thumbing (hands on instructor handle) is useful over flats, pushing sitskiers to lifts or for specific coaching moments but it is essentially skiing for the sitskier which is not our aim
        • Falling is learning – falling is different than crashing or tumbling
        • Incidents: 3 categories
          • Minor incident – no ski patrol / no resort staff involved
          • Minor incident – ski patrol or resort staff involved (i.e. on scene)
          • Injury (Sitskier, Tetherer, Blocker or resort patron)
        • Always stop out of the way and in conspicuous places
        • Importance of terrain features – flats vs. slopes, steep incline vs gradual incline, rolls and bumps
        • Highlight single and double (off-axis) fall lines
        • Communications between tetherer and sitskier are critical

        Sitski Tetherer Training & Exercises – No Sitski

        • Snowplow/wide and narrow wedge
        • Pedal turns
        • Skate/hockey stops
        • Sideslip & Falling Leaf
        • Snowplow into Skidded Parallel or traditional Stem Christie
        • Synchro skiing – connected turns
        • Individual practice of exercises/skiing manoeuvers above
        • Pairs practice of exercises/skiing manoeuvers above
          • Start with shadowing
          • Bamboo Pole
          • Waist tether

        Sitski Tetherer Training & Exercises – With Sitski

        • New Tetherer – Preferably, start with a weighted quadski (2/3-30 lb sand bags), then an experienced sitskier, then a new or inexperienced sitskier – in that order
        • Equip overview, strap-in, safety check/walk-around, confirm operating properly
        • Getting to the lift/hill plan/loading/unloading

        Top of Hill

        • Weather/Conditions/Run plan/Communications/Blocker Responsibilities
        • Beginner Run initially
        • Attaching tethers
          • Loop the tether through itself (Girth Hitch) around either your wrist or forearm with the straight part inside of the arm, in a way so that when you wrap the slack around your hand the girth hitch cinches around your wrist and the tether exits parallel to your thumb as it goes to the sit ski.
          • Do not place the girth hitch above your elbow as there is then a direct pull on your shoulder. With the loop over your forearm there is some force absorption with your lower arm, and therefore less risk to your shoulder joint.
          • Adjust the girth hitch above your gloves. A failure to do so could result in the runaway sitski if the gloves are pulled off during a fall.
          • Wrap the slack around your hand, so the girth hitch tightens while being wrapped. This slack should be taken up under tension and equal on both hands so that each palm has a tight wrap of equal loops. Starting with unequal tether lengths is very uncomfortable and may lead to unintentional tension on the wrong tether.
          • There should be a couple of feet of excess tether between the tetherer and sitski which gives you a good starting position when you release the sitski. While some slack is good, too much slack where the tethers are dragging on the snow is inviting the tethers to get caught around parts of the sitski or around parts of the tetherers skis or ski binding(s).

        Blocker’s Role and Tasks

        • Blockers are safety facilitators and assistants
        • Blockers remain “inside” and high … create areas of protection leading the sitskier and tetherer
        • Blockers can also lead up front and create a protection zone where trails merge or there is significant amount of congestion (e.g. lift line entrances)
        • When blockers are creating a protection zone in a blind area, raise hands above shoulders at 45 degrees
        • When the sitskier and tetherer are visible from above, blockers point in direction of travel

        Demo Teaching Points

        • Basic tether ski position (Angle inside of turn; appropriate length of tether for speed and terrain (use GS picture drawn on snow)
        • Tether tension (using steering wheel or banked hand position)
        • Tether positions/height/movement
        • Tetherer Positioning – Approx. 45 deg in general off the 6 o’clock (line directly behind the skier) or 4:30/7:30 clock positions (see below)
        • Appropriate use of terrain (run selection, not too close to edge, not going straight over rolls, blind drops, etc.)
        • Turn Shape – keeping the turns round – the key is speed management
        • Skiers Needs – call the turns and communicate with the sitskier
        • Demonstrate 4 types of stops
          • Gravity-assisted
          • Snowplow
          • Hockey
          • Emergency (Fast hockey stop in the appropriate direction)

        Sitski and Tetherer Positioning

        Tetherer and Sitski Positioning

        Sitski & Sitski Tetherer Tracks & Space Required

        Sitski and Tether Tracks and Space Required

        Key Teaching Points

        Key Teaching Points for Inexperienced Sitski Tetherers

        • Tethered sitskiing is a team sport – preparation & planning
        • Getting to the lift – Load & Unload
        • Stop at the top of the hill in safe place
        • Attach tethers – communicate with skier and blocker(s)
        • Assess weather, ski conditions, expected traffic, safety concerns
        • Blocker plan
        • Ensure team is ready – plan 1st couple of turns
        • Start Right – smooth thumbing start
        • Smooth turns and stops
        • Appropriate tether tension – focus is on the uphill tether for turning/edging
        • Use of banking / steering wheel hand position
        • Following the sitski (5:30 to 6:30 position) vs. leading the turn
        • Transition from turns to straight running to turns
        • Discuss/demo/understand/remedies for:
          • Pontoon wobble
          • Backend skids out

        “The Dance” – Connecting Smooth Turns

        "The Dance" - Connecting Smooth Turns


        Key Sitski Tethering Principles

        • The basics of skiing are the same for stand-up and sitskiing
        • Have fun…be safe
        • Expect the unexpected – 360-degree Situation Awareness important
        • Know the weather, snow conditions, terrain, expected traffic
        • Think Team
        • Plan the day, plan the lesson, plan the run
        • Be compassionate & confident
        • Team communications are critical
        • The tetherer skillset needs practice, practice and more practice
        • Enjoy the experience

        Phil and Nolan Having Fun

        What CADS is All About!

        Contact Information

        Dave (Col D) McComb

        Mobile: 613-720-6686