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ADAPTIVE


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LQVHW LV D ERRQ WR VNLHUV ZKR PD\ KDYH GLɝFXOW\ JHWWLQJ their feet and ankles into conventional boots


JASON MALCZYK, TETON ADAPTIVE SPORTS


DISCOVERY OF ‘MAGIC BOOTS’ IS A GAME-CHANGER FOR ADAPTIVE SKIERS


By Kim Seevers I


n the not-for-profit realm of adaptive instruction, it’s all about giving back. This usually comes in a human form; a volunteer, a donor, a board member, or a grant maker. Sometimes, however, something unexpected, like a piece of gear, comes along


that makes a huge impact on student learning. At New York’s Adaptive Sports Founda-


tion, where I’m the program development and grants director, we’ve been turning over our rental fleet for the past two seasons. Ski boots were on the wish list, which is typi- cally a pretty standard purchase. However, staff members stumbled on a game-changing new piece of adaptive equipment: the Full Tilt ski boot. This modern boot has a storied past. Many


who were skiing back in the ‘80s fondly remember the Raichle Flexon Comp; in fact, a surprising number of people are still skiing theirs. The Flexon Comp was an inno- vative three-piece design that flexed without bulging or distorting the lower boot shell, a common problem in those days. The boot became popular with skiers from all walks


52 | 32 DEGREES • SPRING 2019


of sliding; hotdoggers, mogul skiers, and racers alike. After Raichle went out of busi- ness in 1996, the molds were kicked around to a few companies, but the Flexon Comp essen- tially died. Skiers who were dedicated to this model – and there were many – were forced to scrounge around for replacement parts to keep the boots on their feet. In 2006, the original molds were purchased by a group of skiers and boot fitters and the Flexon Comp came back to life as the Full Tilt.


HOW DO THESE BOOTS IMPROVE ADAPTIVE SKIING?


With that roundabout introduction, you may be wondering where adaptive skiing fits into the picture. The Full Tilt features a hinged tongue that opens up, much like a convertible top. With the tongue out of the way, the student’s


foot slides in and out with comfort and is never blocked. Because there are only three working pieces, the boot is twice as light as most conven- tional designs (great for students with muscle weakness) and has a wide toe box. We first recommended the boot a few


years ago for a young man with arthrogry- posis – a rare condition that involves stiff or contracted joints. He wears ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) and had trouble getting his feet and ankles into ski boots. A local shop owner took interest in his dilemma and, upon setting him up with a pair of Full Tilts, the world turned! Later that season, we recommended the boots for another boy on our race team who also has arthrogryposis. They have made an amazing difference in his comfort and performance as well. Based on those two outcomes, we decided


to replace some of our old rental boots with a fleet of new Full Tilts. After an entire season we can positively say that having the Full Tilts available for our students with disabili- ties has paid tremendous dividends for those with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems.


JASON MALCZYK, TETON ADAPTIVE SPORTS


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