Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding

Game On: Learn about the divisioning process that differentiates Special Olympics from other sport organizations.

SONC offers four competitive events in alpine skiing, accommodating all ability levels and competition interests from beginner to advanced.

The glide is for athletes just learning how to ski where the terrain has a gentle slope with no turns. Coaches are allowed to assist athletes at this level.

The super glide is the next level where the terrain is slightly steeper than the glide, but also does not have turns.

Athletes competing in the novice slalom will ride a ski lift and ski on steeper terrain, weaving through a number of gates on their way to the finish.

Athletes in the intermediate slalom will experience a more challenging terrain than the novice slalom, with an increased number of gates.

Athletes competing in advanced slalom ski on the most challenging terrain (commonly referred to as the “black” runs), and expereince tighter turns and more gates in their competition.

Snowboarding, while not an official SONC sport, is gaining popularity with athletes looking for a new challenge on the slopes. SONC offers the novice slalom at competition.

Always communicate with your local coordinator if you are interested in submitting registration for an event.

Winter Games/Invitational Registration Forms

  • SONC Winter Games Family Registration Form
  • SONC Winter Games Event Registration
  • SONC Winter Games Alpine Skiing Schedule
  • Special Olympics Clothing Rental Form
  • Southeast Winter Games Family & Guest Registration Form
  • Southeast Winter Games Event Registration
  • Southeast Winter Games Skiing and Snowboarding Schedule

Local program coordinators should submit entries along with the remainder of the Winter Games registration.  Click here for a full list of Winter Games registration forms. These forms will be available closer to the event date.

SONC Athlete Training Camp is designed to get athletes out onto the snow and practice their skills under skilled and professional ski instructors.  The training camp will be held on Sunday, December 1, 2019.  Click here for more details.

SONC Winter Games – Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding will be held January 12-13, 2020 in Boone and Blowing Rock.

Special Olympics Southeast Winter Games – Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding is an additional competition opportunity for SONC athletes, as well as athletes from surrounding states. This event will take place on February 2-4, 2020.


Athletes and partners also have the opportunity and are encouraged to participate in various local invitationals. Check the alpine skiing & snowboaring sport calendar for upcoming invitationals being hosted by local programs.

Local programs are also encouraged to host and invite neighboring counties to participate in invitationals, scrimmages, or leagues.  Click here for some basic steps on how to get started.  If you are interested in hosting an invitational you can also contact the sports department at

About Alpine Skiing:  Alpine Skiing is a demanding sport, and athletes will benefit by being in good physical condition to compete successfully and safely.  Alpine Skiing requires, in addition to a basic combination of endurance and strength, a high capacity of quickness and action/reaction endurance.  Through proper training, the athletes improve their physical, psychological and mental efficiency. 

About Snowboarding:  Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope that is covered with snow on a snowboard attached to a rider’s feet using a special boot set onto a mounted binding. 

Differences of Special Olympics Alpine Skiing:  Special Olympics rules follow the international Ski Federation rules for alpine racing except for specific situations.  Those include race venue selection based on the ability of the athlete.  Other specific rules include the 2 Minute Rules, which allows an athlete who has fallen or gone off course to get the skies back on and continue down the course.  Presently all courses are set with open gates which allow an even flow down the race hill. 

Differences of Special Olympics Snowboarding:  Special Olympics does not offer as many Snowboarding events as the Federation Internationale de Skie. Special Olympics does not offer halfpipe, snowboard cross, or parallel events because of the safety considerations in offering these events.   

History: 1994 marked the first Winter Games for Special Olympics North Carolina. 

By the Numbers:   

  • In 1993, Special Olympics North Carolina athlete Donna Parker attended the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria to compete in alpine skiing. 
  • In 1974, Jim Cottrell with the French Swiss Ski College in Blowing Rock was instrumental in introducing alpine skiing to Special Olympics. 
  • 150 athletes currently compete in Special Olympics North Carolina Winter Games. 

Sport Development Teams (SDT) are responsible for assisting with local and state level programs and competition, educating coaches and officials, and promoting active engagement among athletes throughout the year.  Click here for more information.

Jim Cottrell – Alpine SDT Director

Ron Henries

Roachel Laney

Sam Lloyd – Adaptive Skiing

Michael Maybee
Blowing Rock

Herb Vogt – Coach resource for dryland training for athletes

Certified Clinicians receive additional training in presentational skills to conduct training schools in their community.  In order to become a Certified Clinician one must have a Special Olympics North Carolina level 2 sport certification in this sport.

For more information on becoming an SDT member or a Certified Clinician, contact

Click on the photo to read Carolina Mountain Life’s feature on Special Olympics NC Alpine skiing and snowboarding

Find out if this sport is offered in your community

Become an Athlete or Unified Partner

Special Olympics North Carolina offers sports training and competition in 19 Olympic-type sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.  Learn more on how to become an athlete.

Become a Unified partner and play on a team alongside athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Become a Coach

Combine knowledge and passion for a sport by becoming a Special Olympics North Carolina coach to lead athletes in preparing for local and state-level competition.

Become a Volunteer

Serve a crucial role at Special Olympics North Carolina by volunteering at our office or one of our many events throughout the year. Check out our home page for these volunteer opportunities.

Share Your Sport Knowledge

Officiate for Special Olympics North Carolina by donating your time as a sports official.  Contact for more information.

Sport Development Team members (SDT) are active volunteers who channel their passion and knowledge for a sport into effective leadership for local and state programs.  

Certified clinicians supplement the SDT by providing coaches training in their community.  Click here for trainers.

For more information on getting involved, contact