TetraSki FAQs


+ May I purchase the TetraSki? . . .

While we currently are not offering the TetraSki for private purchase, we are leasing three skis to adaptive programs across the country for the 2018-19 season. The amount of time the programs have the ski is based on number of clients that the program has identified.

The TetraSki is still evolving and our current program of providing the ski to adaptive organization gives us greater control over hardware/software upgrades, feature additions, and, if necessary, repair work.

If you’re interested in trying the TetraSki but don’t have a participating program nearby, consider contacting an adaptive program near you and encouraging them to contact us to apply for the TetraSki. You may also see a calendar of participating programs hosting a TetraSki this winter.

+ What safety concerns should I be aware of with the TetraSki? . . .

As with any sport, and especially with downhill skiing, there are inherent risks involved. These risks can be minimized through a combination of good judgement, proper instruction and correct equipment setup. Every instructor that oversees and runs the TetraSki lessons has undergone extensive training with the equipment and is there to help guide you through a safe, fun skiing experience that challenges you while also minimizing any chance of an accident.

That said, we recommend individuals with traumatic injuries should always consult their physician before trying out the TetraSki.

+ Is the TetraSki only for those with a spinal cord injury? . . .

No. The device is intended for anyone with mobility impairments, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, muscular dystrophy or multiple limb amputation

+ What is the cost and how does our program apply to lease the ski? . . .

While our program list for the 2018-2019 season has been finalized, we will continue to build more skis and expand our national and international coverage. This season, we are fortunate to be able to lease the ski free of charge to participating programs, thanks to a grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation that completely covers the costs of ski training and transportaton. We are hoping to continue to support additional skis and subsidize opportunities in the future.

To apply for a TetraSki for 2019-2020, Contact Us.

+ Is the TetraSki compatible with our ski resort's chairlift, gondola or tram system? . . .

The TetraSki is compatible with most chairlifts. Typically if a traditional mono-ski/bi-ski can access the chairlifts, the TetraSki should be compatible as well. While a safety bar is recommended (and may be required depending on your local regulations), the TetraSki features a rear restraint system that secures the device to the chairlift backrest.

The Tetraski should fit on any tram or gondola with a door opening greater than 36 inches. Surface lifts such as T-Bars/Poma lifts, or tow ropes, represent unique challenges. Please contact us for more information about your specific lift.

If you have any questions about equipment compatibility with your ski area’s lift infrastructure, contact us with basic dimensions and descriptions and we can make a recommendation.

+ What terrain is most appropriate to use the ski? . . .

The TetraSki does great on the majority of green and blue ski runs (beginner and intermediate terrain). However, it is not limited to traditional runs and has been used off-piste with great success. Terrain selection is often dictated by current snow conditions.

+ What types of skis work on the TetraSki? . . .

Designers and engineers have worked hard on identifying particular skis and binding position placement that is optimized for the TetraSki. While most alpine skis technically work on the TetraSki, we suggest the use of skis provided by our program.

+ How does instructor training work and who can do it? . . .

All TetraSki instructors must attend a four-day mandatory trying course in Utah. The course is designed for advanced/expert instructors who already have familiarity with tethering adaptive ski devices.

+ Our program is currently using the TetraSki. Can we provide feedback and feature requests? . . .

Yes. TetraSki development is ongoing and we are always looking for feedback! To request features or improvements, as well as troubleshoot equipment problems or order spare parts, Contact Us.

+ What happens if the TetraSki needs to be adjusted or fixed? . . .

If you are a program currently leasing the TetraSki, we have staff available for phone suppor. If needed, we are ready to send replacement parts, including mailing the parts overnight so as not to delay use for participants.

+ Where can I try the TetraSki?. . .

We are strategically partnering with adaptive ski programs throughout the United States starting in the winter of 2018-2019 to offer the TetraSki to participants.

These programs have been selected to cover a large portion of the U.S. skiing population, including regions in the Northeast, Midwest, Colorado, Utah and California.

We plan on further expanding for the 2019-20 season by building more TetraSkis and covering more programs and regions. We will keep an updated list as partnerships are finalized, so check back frequently. To see a complete list and schedule of the participating 2018/19 ski programs, along with contact information, GO HERE >>

+ How are you able to financially support this program? Can I support you? . . .

We are fortunate to currently have a supportive environment that is pro-innovation that affords our team the time and focus to design and build the technology. We have multiple partners and have received internal and external grants, including support in 2015 from the Craig T. Neilsen Foundation that facilitated the launch of the Tetradapt Initiative.

If you are interested in donating to the TetraSki program to help us make more skis available, please reach out and we can discuss options. Your support will make a difference! Contact Us


Testing & Training (TRAILS) FAQs


+ What does TRAILS stand for? . . .

TRAILS stands for: Technology Recreation Access Independence Lifestyle and Sports. It is a University of Utah Rehabilitation Center community program focused on the recreation, socialization, and education needs of individuals with complex physical disabilities.

TRAILS was designed by a team of rehabilitation professionals to serve as part of a long-term rehabilitation plan. TRAILS aims to maximize physical and mental health by focusing on year-around activities that participants can incorporate into a daily, active lifestyle.

+ What are the programs and activities? . . .

TRAILS programming includes: cross country skiing, alpine skiing, swimming, cycling (road and mountain), kayaking, sailing, gym-based wellness, and wheelchair tennis. There is a competitive emphasis on cross country skiing, handcycling and wheelchair tennis.

Activities are always free and run five to six days a week in the Greater Salt Lake area. We encourage family members, friends, and caregivers to participate and to receive training as well. Paralympic gold medalist Tanja Kari is the TRAILS program director.

+ Where do TRAILS activities take place? . . .

TRAILS activities take place in most of Utah’s Wasatch Front ski resorts (Alta, Brighton, Powder Mountain, Sundance), cross country ski venues (Mountain Dell, Soldier Hollow, White Pine Touring), County and City public parks (Liberty Park, Sugarhouse Park), State Parks (East Canyon), Holladay Lions Recreation Center, Park City MARC, Ivory Ridge Tennis and Sports Mall.

+ Do you have programs for veterans? . . .

The TRAILS program serves any and all injured veterans and injured service members, with a special focus on the unique needs of those with complex physical disabilities. The program has been a partner of the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center since 2009, and in 2017-18 the program expanded nationally, collaborating with the Colorado VA for instructor and client clinics at Ski Spectacular and the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Club.

+ I don't live in Utah, can I still participate in TRAILS? . . .

You don’t have to be located in Utah to participate in TRAILS. We run programs year-round, with some seasonal.

Contact us and plan a trip based upon skiing, kayaking and sailing camps, cycling, marathon, or to attend our educational forums. We have plenty of ongoing activities and we will assist you in creating a trip to Utah loaded with fun!

+ How much does it cost to participate in TRAILS? . . .

TRAILS sports and recreation activities are free of charge for participants.

The cost of spinal cord injury itself is extremely high for individuals and their families and we work to eliminate any barrier, including fees, for participation. Contact us to learn how to sign up.

+ How do I volunteer with TRAILS . . .

All volunteers start by filling out an online volunteer application through the University of Utah Health Volunteer Office at . You may also contact us directly about volunteer options or if you have other questions: How to Get Involved.

After a background check and volunteer orientation, you can choose a program(s) in which to help based on interest, skills, and availability. We would love for you to join our community!


Research & Development FAQs


+ When will the adaptable watercraft you're developing be ready for public use?. . .

The Tetradapt watercraft is still in an early-development stage and our production prototype is scheduled to debut the summer of 2019. Following a successful season, we will begin an initial pilot program similar to the TetraSki during the summer of 2020.

Contact us if you'd lke to learn more.

+ What types of watercraft may be used with the accessible floating platform? . . .

The powered, accessible floating platform lift seen on the What We Do page is designed primarily for hardshell kayaks and paddle boards, however the ramp on the back can expand access to a variety of different types of inflatable watercraft.

Wheelchair access and transfers are not permitted on the rear ramp without assistance from qualified instructors.

Contact us if you'd lke to learn more.


General FAQs


+ What is the difference between Paraplegia and Tetraplegia?. . .

Many find the distinction between quadriplegia, tetraplegia, and paraplegia to be confusing. So let’s take a minute to explain some of the differences in spinal cord injury or disease. Quadriplegia and tetraplegia actually refer to the same condition, though Tetraplegia is the more commonly used term by physicians and medical personnel. And, Tetraplegia is what we used to name this empowering initiative: Tetradapt.


The spine (vertebral column) extends from the base of the head down to the tailbone. The spinal cord extends down within the protective vertebral canal to the top of the pelvis. The vertebrae are named according to where they are located:

• 7 vertebrae in the neck, called the “cervical or C”
• 12 vertebrae through the ribcage region, called the ‘thoracic or T’
• 5 vertebrae below the ribs in the low back area, called ‘lumbar or L’
• 5 fused vertebrae in the pelvic area to the tailbone are the ‘sacral or S’

The vertebrae in those regions are numbered from top down. Spinal cord levels are named and numbered similarly, however the spinal cord is shorter than the spine therefore do not exit the vertebrae at the same named / numbered levels.

With spinal cord injury, the level of injury is related to how high the injury is located within the spinal cord and the degree or completeness of paralysis varies depending on the severity of injury to the spinal cord.


Tetraplegia, sometimes called quadriplegia, refers to a spinal cord injury within the cervical segments of the spinal cord (C1-C8), which are above the first thoracic vertebrea (T1). The result is at least some degree of paralysis in all four limbs (affecting the arms, the trunk and the legs). With very high tetraplegia (C1-4), the ability to even breath independently can be severely compromised while with lower levels of tetraplegia one might have nearly full arm function, but demonstrate mild finger weakness.


Paraplegia refers to a spinal cord injury anywhere along the thoracic or lumbar segments of the spinal cord (T1-L5), which are below the first thoracic vertebrea (T1). The result is some degree of paralysis affecting the trunk and/or the legs. People with this injury are able to fully use their arms and hands, but the degree to which their trunk and legs are involved depends on the level and completeness of their injury. Some paraplegics are completely paralyzed from the chest down. Others may experience only minor weakness, decreased sensation in the lower body, and/or partial loss of bowel, bladder and sexual function.

+ How do people with a spinal cord injury get in and out of the equipment?. . .

One’s ability to move and transfer will determine if any or how much assistance will be required to get into and out of the equipment.

A team of assistants is available as needed and are prepared to assist fully if necessary. The TetraSki and TetraSail are unique and assistants are fully trained to negotiate the equipment to provide safe and consistent mobility assistance.

+ How is Tetradapt and the TetraSki funded? How do I support you? . . .

We are fortunate to currently have a supportive environment that is pro-innovation that affords our team the time and focus to design and build the technology. We have multiple partners and have received internal and external grants, including support in 2015 from the Craig T. Neilsen Foundation that facilitated the launch of the Tetradapt Initiative.

If you are interested in donating to the TetraSki program to help us make more skis available, please reach out and we can discuss options. Your support will make a difference! Contact Us