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Winter Sports

Indoor Sports

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Winter Sports

Blind Hockey

blind hockey players posing

Visually impaired and sighted players have been taking to the ice for hockey for many years now in Alberta. The metal puck houses multiple ball bearings that rattle as the puck moves across the ice. Often the players with the most sight will play forward and those with increased vision loss typically play defense. Some rules are slightly different than typical hockey as there must be at least one clean pass in the offensive zone for the goalie to have an idea where the puck is coming from. Another rule is that a goal can only be scored in the bottom half of the net for both safety reasons and because the puck is unable to make noise while in flight. There is also a three-foot leeway rule in effect for offside because those who are visually impaired may not be able to clearly identify the blue line. ASRAB partners with Canadian Blind Hockey to provide new and exciting hockey experiences to people who are visually impaired. There are teams in both Calgary and Edmonton. The Calgary team name is the Seeing Ice Dogs and the Edmonton team is the See Hawks. ASRAB annually hosts the Alberta Blind Hockey Challenge to promote hockey competition.

This AMI video explains and shows more about blind hockey.  The Canadian Blind Hockey Association governs the sport of Blind Hockey in Canada, and promotes the sport around the world.

Cross-country skiing:

Cross-country skiing is where skiers rely on their own locomotion to move across snow-covered trails that are flat for long distances. Cross country skiers use very long and narrow skis where only the toe of the ski boot is attached. This allows skiers to push and glide with the help of poles to move forward. Often skiers go on trails that have been specifically groomed for cross country skiing and therefore have specific tracks in the snow to guide you.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding:

Downhill skiing is similar to cross-country skiing only there is a hill that you must go down! Downhill skis have both the front and the back of the boots attached to shorter and slightly wider skis when compared to cross country skis. Downhill skis have fixed-heel bindings that allow for stability for sliding down snow-covered hills. Mechanical assistance known as chairlifts, t-bars or tow ropes are used to transport people to the top of the hill. When you get to the top of the hill a guide will assist in helping you learn skills like turning, stopping and weaving in and out while returning to the bottom of the hill.

This AMI video, explains and shows more about downhill skiing.

The Canadian Adaptive Snowsports – Alberta (CADS) –The main objective is to promote adaptive skiing and snowboarding by teaching people with disabilities how to ski or snowboard using adaptive skills and equipment tailored to their needs.


Ice skating can be both indoors or outdoors and sometimes on naturally occurring bodies of frozen water such as ponds, lakes and rivers. Under the guidance of experienced instructors, you can learn the basics of skating. Skates have long blades that run the length of the boot and are sharp enough to allow you to glide along ice. Build up your skating skills by learning how to stop, start, turn, skate backwards and more.


Family snow shoeingSnowshoes have a tennis racquet like structure and they strap onto your winter boots. They are very wide and are used for walking over through deep snow without sinking. Snowshoeing is a fun way to be active through the winter months. There are many different trails to venture down and it is a social group activity.

Indoor Sports


Learning archerArchery is the sport, practice and skill of using a bow to propel arrows to hit a target. The goal is to hit the target closest to the bull eye which is the center of the target. Historically, archery has been used for hunting and combat. In modern times, it is mainly a competitive sport that is included in the Paralympics and can be a fun recreational activity. Guides are used to help athletes navigate the direction of a shot. They will also assist in improving your aim by giving you directional pointers. Each person will be lined up with a bow and arrow and will learn the basics of how to aim for the shot at a target.



The aim of bowling is to release a heavy ball down a long lane in efforts to knock down pins at the other end while trying to throw as few shots as possible. The best shot is a strike where you get every single pin down on the first shot. Each turn you get three chances to throw and after each turn you receive points. After each turn, your points add up and whoever receives the most points by the end of the game wins. As many visually impaired sports do, bowling also can be one where you use a guide or director. This person will help you to navigate the lane and let you know which pins are still standing after each shot. There can often be railings along some lanes for participants to be able to follow along as they throw the bowling ball.


Dance is a type of performing art that consists of moving different body parts to the rhythm of music. Dance can help to increase coordination, movement, orientation, and independence. Dance students can learn dance skills under the various disciplines of dance, including hip-hop, ballet and tap. We also like to mix it up with children’s and adult hip hop classes. This is a fun way to express yourself and learn new movements.

This AMI video, explains and shows more about our dance program.



The sport of gymnastics requires balance, strength, flexibility, agility, endurance and control. Common equipment used in gymnastics is the trampoline, balance beam, climbing ropes and bars. Swing on the bars, bounce on the trampoline, learn to roll on the floor and try out a spring board. As a sport that has been proven to improve the children’s basic physical literacy skills, such as balance, hopping, skipping, jumping and throwing, it is a great activity for people who are visually impaired and blind. Master the basics, and learn something new under the direction of an instructor. With the support of volunteers, members are encouraged to try new movement on equipment they may not have had the opportunity to experience before.

Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor climbing is performed on artificial structures affixed to a large wall that mimics the experience of outdoor rocks and cliffs. Discover how to climb effectively through the reach and feel method or tapping method at various climbing walls. The reach and feel method involves the athlete reaching to discover tactilely their surroundings and find new holds to help them move up the wall. The tapping method is where a sighted climber moves alongside the visually impaired climber and taps on possible holds for them to use. This special event program gives you a chance to try a very tactile activity.

Martial Arts

Under the guidance of experienced martial artists, ASRAB has explored Maui Tai, Tai Kwan Do, kickboxing, tai chi, self-defense and more. A variety of these arts originated in Asia as a technique used to fight. Combat sports can be a great muscle mass builder as well as a cardio enhancer; now they are often used as sports and recreation outlets for training purposes. Many of these martial arts teach you discipline to efficiently defend yourself or manipulate an opponent. This AMI video, explains and shows more about martial arts.

Movement 4 Me

Our goal is to allow children with visual impairments to have a great start to an active life by focusing on developing their physical literacy. Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding of movement for engagement in physical activities for life. These skills are the building blocks that are essential for a successful transition into sport and physical activities such as goalball. This is achieved in a fun environment through play with ASRAB’s created program. During this program, the skills are learned through fun games, dance, songs, and play. This program will help children gain more confidence in their physical abilities, and movements. Fundamental movement skills include three categories:
Locomotor and Body Skills:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Balance
  • Jumping
  • Hopping
  • Skipping

Sending Skills

  • Throwing
  • Kicking
  • Striking

Receiving Skills

  • Catching
  • Trapping


SkateboardingTrying skateboard is a great way to learn how to balance, how to stand and how to move on a skateboard. It’s a fun way to manoeuvre around a skate park and learn some tricks.

Read about the ‘Skate Bats’ success at a Calgary Skateboard Park and watch their video.


Swimming is self-propulsion through water, usually done for recreation, sport or survival. Our swimming program allows members to learn recreational swimming skills. Swimming is a healthy workout that can be practiced for a lifetime. It is a low-impact activity that has several mental and bodily health benefits, and is a great recreational activity for everyone. Swimming builds endurance, muscle strength, and cardiovascular fitness. The competitive sport of swimming can be done as an individual or team sport, typically it takes place in pools or in open-water. This sport can be competitive up to a Paralympic level. Blind and visually impaired swimmers compete within separate categories, being allocated to categories 11, 12 or 13. Category 11 represents totally blind swimmers, while category 13 represents swimmers that have severe but not total visual loss. Category 11 swimmers compete with blackened goggles and are required to use tappers to ensure swimmers compete equally. Tappers are people at the end of the lane that tap the swimmer with a long pole as they near the edge. This allows the athletes to know when to begin a turn against the wall.


Yoga is a spiritual discipline that uses breath control, relaxation techniques, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures to increase overall body health. Yoga teaches techniques to a better mind, body and soul that can help to improve balance, strength, and stamina. ASRAB’s highly experienced yoga instructor will ensure that you are comfortable and will help you challenge yourself as you move through various poses. Whether you are relieving some stress, becoming more flexible, building more strength, or simply enjoying the practice of yoga, this is great activity for anyone.

Outdoor Sports

Dragon Boating

Calgary Dragon BoatDragon boating is a Chinese watersport that has been around for over 2000 years. While competition has taken place annually for more than 20 centuries as part of religious ceremonies and folk customs, dragon boat racing has emerged in modern times as an international sport. A dragon boat is not an ordinary boat. It is a long narrow boat that can fit up to 20 people with two people per seat. Each person on either side paddles to the beat of a drum. Dragon Boat racing will allow you and other members to practice strokes and increase cohesiveness before the Dragon Boat Festival in August. Under the guidance of an experienced instructor, members will gain the insight and skills needed to be successful at the festival. Stroke to the sound of the drum and cohesively move your boat across the water to the finish with other members and volunteers. Check out the programs offered in Edmonton and Calgary. This AMI video, explains and shows more about dragon boating.


Leaning golfIn golf, players use various clubs to hit a ball into a series of holes on a course in as few strokes as possible. Get lined up with a volunteer and under the guidance of instructors, perfect your swing. You will learn about this amazing sport where the goal is to hit a small white ball with a club down the green and into a small hole. Spend time on the putting green, driving range and take a crack at the entire 9 hole course at the end of the sessions. Our volunteers will aid you in lining up for the correct shot and letting you know the distance of each shot.

This AMI video, explains and shows more about golf.  Another resource for tournaments and events is Blind Golf Canada.

Lawn Bowling

Lawn bowls with players in the backgroundThe objective of lawn bowls is to roll balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a “jack”. It is played on a bowling green. Lawn bowling is an interesting sport in that the bowls are not exactly spherical. Balls used are biased, and therefore add another dimension of tactics and unpredictability to the game. The athletes determine where and how to far to throw through directions given to them by a sighted Director. Within the game you and your director will learn offensive and defensive tactics to play your best game. Lawn bowls can be played nationally and internationally including at the Commonwealth Games. This AMI video, explains and shows more about lawn bowling. Read about Zach’s success after he tried out bowls at an ASRAB Bowls Try-it event.

Running Club

Runner with guideRunning with a sighted partner can take place in numerous ways. A common one is to have a stretchy band that is held by the runner and their guide. If a runner has some sight, a guide can wear a bright vest for the runner to be able to navigate the course. No matter what technique, the guide will vocalize upcoming points of interests on the path or track. This AMI video, explains and shows more about running.


Sailing is where a boat propels along the water by only wind and large sails. Learn the ropes of sailing with experienced instructors that will teach you all you need to know. You will board the boat with a couple of members and an instructor where you will learn about how to man the sails and steer the boat. This program will allow you the freedom of choosing your own course and speed out on the waters. This AMI video, explains and shows more about sailing.  The Disabled Sailing Association of Alberta can also be great resource.


Visually impaired soccer is played between two teams of players with an audible soccer ball. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal. Learn how to dribble, pass and shoot with experienced coaches and athletes there to mentor you. This is an all ages and abilities program designed to introduce you to various audible soccer balls and techniques. There are three main types of audible soccer balls: beeping balls, bell balls as well as large soccer balls. This introduction program is great for anyone who may be interested in a new parasport at grass roots level. The object of soccer is to work together with your teammates in order to get past the other team and score on their net, while also defending your own net. This CTV News video depicts ASRAB’s soccer program.

Tandem Cycling

Tandem CyclingTandem bicycles are used in competitions such as the Paralympics with blind and visually impaired cyclists riding with fully sighted captains. ASRAB offers a Youth and an Adult program that allows you to try tandem cycling or expand your skills. While being mentored by an experienced instructor you will learn how to mount and maneuver the two-seated bike. You and your sighted friend or volunteer will learn how to balance the bike, work together to pick up speed as well as how to navigate the road or track.

Walking Club

Start walking and join in on some social conversations among members and volunteers out in the fresh air. Come walk with us through various parks and along pathways as we explore the outdoors of Calgary and Edmonton. This is a terrific way to get active and make new friends. Casual walks are available for all ages and allow members to experience the wilderness and the surroundings of nature.