What is the TRAILS program at University of Utah Health?

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The Technology Recreation Access Independence Lifestyle Sports, or TRAILS, was founded in 2001 and is the premier adaptive program of the University of Utah Health’s Craig H. Neilsen Rehabilitation Hospital. TRAILS aims to maximize physical and mental health by focusing on year-round activities that participants with complex physical disabilities can incorporate into a daily, active lifestyle.

What makes TRAILS special is its innovation in adaptive sports, recreation, and wellness featuring a large fleet of equipment and technology that is customized for users, much of which is created through a collaborative process of Research & Development between rehabilitation professionals, physicians, faculty, and students at the University of Utah Colleges of Health, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science, Businesses, and Architecture and Planning.

TRAILS Specific Programs— Sports and Recreation (Alpine and Nordic skiing, kayaking and sailing, cycling, mountain biking, wheelchair tennis, and swimming).

Tanja Kari is leading a global initiative to one day see a new category of Paralympic sport using the TetraSki – opening up the Paralympic Games to adaptive skiers with complex disabilities. Planning is underway for the first-ever TetraSki race event in March 2022 at Powder Mountain Ski Resort in Utah.

Tanja Kari is the TRAILS Program Director with University of Utah Health and an active technical classifier for the International Paralympic Committee’s Para Nordic Skiing. Kari has been working with adaptive athletes of all levels for more than 20 years. She is a 10-time Paralympic gold medalist, representing Finland in cross country skiing from 1992-2002. Kari has a Master’s degree in Sports Sciences and Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education.

TetraSki, the world’s only independent alpine ski for people with complex disabilities such as tetraplegia. The TetraSki enables a skier to independently control turning and speed through the use of either a joystick or sip-and-puff technology. The Tetra Watercraft, the world’s first hybrid watercraft that can be independently sailed or electrically propelled by people with complex disabilities. It can be sailed using a sip-and-puff or a joystick tetra control interface.

TRAILS is designed to prepare individuals of all ability levels to engage in active living through recreational experiences. These opportunities and resources will help bridge the gap between rehabilitation and returning to the community.

To learn more visit TRAILS at University of Utah Health now.

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