Winter Sport Classifications

Para-Alpine and Para-Nordic (includes biathlon & para-snowbard)

In alpine skiing, biathlon, and cross-country skiing, athletes compete in three general categories:

  • Standing
  • Sitting
  • Visual impaired

Letter-number codes identify the athlete’s specific competitive category that is their classification. LW refers to winter athletes with a locomotive disability, and B to athletes who are visually impaired.

Class

Description

Sport equipment

Athletes in the following classes compete standing

LW 1

Double leg amputation above the knee, moderate to highly involved disability, cerebral palsy, or equivalent impairment

Two skis, two outriggers

LW 2

Single leg amputation above the knee

One ski, two outriggers

LW 3

Double leg amputation below the knee, mild cerebral palsy, or equivalent impairment

Two skis, two poles

LW 4

Single leg amputation below the knee

Two skis, two poles

LW 5/7-1

Double arm amputation above the elbow

Two skis, no poles

LW 5/7-2

Double arm amputation, one above and one below the elbow

Two skis, no poles

LW 5/7-3

Double arm amputation below the elbow

Two skis, no poles

LW 6/8-1

Single arm amputation above the elbow

Two skis, one pole

LW 6/8-2

Single arm amputation below the elbow

Two skis, one pole

LW 9-1

Amputation or equivalent impairment of one arm and one leg above the knee

Choice of equipment

LW 9-2

Amputation or equivalent impairment of one arm and one leg below the knee

Choice of equipment

Athletes in the following classes are visually impaired and compete standing with a guide
* Someone with 2/60 vision sees at 2 metres what a person without a visual disability can see up to 60 metres away.

B2

Up to approximately 3-5% functional vision.

 

B3

No more than 10% functional vision.

 

Athletes in the following classes compete using a sit-ski

LW 10-1

Paraplegia with no upper abdominal function and no functional sitting balance

 

LW 10-2

Paraplegia with some upper abdominal function and no functional sitting balance

 

LW 11

Paraplegia with fair functional sitting balance

 

LW 12-1

Paraplegia with some leg function and good sitting balance

 

LW 12-2

Double leg amputation above the knees

 

When there are only a small number of competitors in a class, similar classes are combined. In addition to classification, a mathematic formula applies a percentage (factor) to each athlete to create equitable competition. The athlete’s actual finishing time is multiplied by this percentage to determine their ultimate finish time.

The formulas are pre-determined and published for each competitive season.

Below is an example of the percentage formula in use:

  • Athlete A is classified as LW6 with a factor of 91% finishes the race in 1 minute, their final race time is 54.6 seconds.
  • Athlete B is classified as LW5 with a factor of 79% finishes the race in 1 minute and 2 seconds, their final race time is 48.98 seconds.
  • Athlete B wins.

Therefore, the athlete who completed the race fastest may not be the winner and gold medalist.  

Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling

Specific competitive classifications are not used in wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey. Athletes still participate in a classification evaluation and are classified as eligible (ME) to compete or not be eligible to compete.