Winter storms can bring heavy snow that makes it difficult to travel by car and on foot. Snow can be even more of a challenge for people who use wheelchairs to get around, but with the right equipment and some determination, disabled people can also conquer the snow.
Chains are an inexpensive way to get a wheelchair through snow. However, chains cannot be used on a wheelchair inside a building.
The Ziesel is an extreme, all-terrain wheelchair that can get through snow. Its large size allows it to get over virtually any snow bank. It cannot be used indoors, which makes it somewhat impractical, but it can be helpful for someone who needs to get around outside in extreme weather.
A person who uses a regular wheelchair can also get around in the snow. Wheelblades are an add-on that can let the two front caster wheels glide through snow that is relatively deep. The blades are secured to the wheels with a clamp lock and work on the same principle as snowshoes. They spread the weight of a wheelchair over a greater surface area, which allows the wheelchair to float and guide instead of slipping and sinking. Two channels on the base of the ski compress the snow to increase stability.
Wheelblades can be installed in minutes by raising the wheelchair on its primary drive wheels, lowering the front wheels on top, and closing the clamp on the binding. The binding can fit wheels of a variety of sizes. Wheelblades can also be used with winter tires on the main wheels to make getting through snow even easier.
Swiss inventor Patrick Mayer, who became a quadriplegic after a snowboarding accident, designed Wheelblades after he found that it was difficult to get around in his wheelchair during the winter.
A person who uses a wheelchair can even help shovel snow. Many paraplegics and quadriplegics have posted videos on YouTube of themselves shoveling snow in their wheelchairs. Some people add a shovel to the front of a power wheelchair and push the snow, while others use a manual all-terrain wheelchair, such as the Renegade, to plow snow.
Let us know if you are aware of any additional aids that help in the snow so we can tell our readers. How do you conquer the snow?