National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic

30 years of mountainside miracles


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A primary goal of VA and the Disabled American Veterans charity is ensuring that Veterans receive world-class healthcare and rehabilitation.

The National Disabled Winter Sports Clinic complements those efforts by providing opportunities for self-development and challenge through sports and leisure activities. The clinic proves that having a disability need not be an obstacle to an active, rewarding life.

Co-sponsored by VA and DAV, the clinic attracts Veterans from across the country to participate in this annual learn-to-ski clinic for disabled Veterans. Being held this year April 3 through 8, the clinic is a world-leader in adaptive winter sports instruction for U.S. military Veterans and active duty servicemen and women with disabilities.

Set in stunning Snowmass, Colorado, the clinic celebrates its 30th year, bringing nearly 400 Veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological conditions, and other injuries to the mountain.

Veterans who currently have inpatient or outpatient status at a VA Medical facility have first priority.

Participation is open to male and female military service Veterans with qualifying disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputation, visual impairments, certain neurological problems, and other disabilities.

Watch the Veterans in action and hear their comments about the clinic.

Participating Veterans, seriously wounded while protecting our freedom, have an opportunity to pack more miracles into the weeklong, life-changing event than they ever dreamed possible. They are reminded of the wonder and achievement life still has to offer, despite their profound disabilities.

A disabled Veteran skis

Here’s a look at the special equipment used during the games.

After conquering a snow covered mountainside, everyday challenges of life seem much more surmountable for these participants who’ve lost a limb or sight, or endure paralysis. Our Veterans draw inner strength from this experience of a lifetime and use it to overcome life’s challenges head-on when they return home. They also inspire those without disabilities to catch their spirit and go after their dreams.

Volunteers Provide Encouragement

A devoted force of volunteers and specialized ski instructors offer one-on-one instruction, untiring encouragement, and loyal friendship. This bonding and mentorship are critical to the therapeutic value of the clinic.

There’s also plenty to do when participants aren’t on the slopes, and it’s all challenging and fun. There are many activities to broaden the experience, including sled hockey, scuba diving, rock climbing, snowmobiling, self-defense techniques, and more. A variety of educational workshops and seminars are also offered, linking Veterans with resources, skills, and community ties that will enhance their lives beyond the event.


About the Author: Teresa Parks has been the Program Manager for the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic since 2003. She started her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs as a recreation therapist at the Knoxville VA Medical Center in 1993. Her first experience at the Winter Sports Clinic was as a Team Leader in 1998. Parks later began working for the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic full-time in 1999 as a special events coordinator.

Author

Teresa Parks

Comments

  1. Mr Mark Robert Brorson    

    I had a blast with programs like this years ago. I snow skied, water skied, fished, hunted and went to the first six VA Wheelchair games (track & field mostly). Then, I went to college, got my Electrical Engineering degree, got married, got a RD & E job working for the DOD and stopped most sports. My big mistake, if only I had a crystal ball, should have skipped the marriage (didn’t last anyway) and stayed with sports. I got out of shape and not sure I’ll ever get back so for all you young Disabled Vets. stich with sports, stay in shape, it’s much easier to stay in shape than to get back into shape.

  2. Meredith    

    This is such a great program. This was my husband’s first year here and it’s amazing to see what the DAV and VA are doing for these veterans. We had such a great time and met a lot of wonderful people. I loved getting to watch the veterans try new things and challenge themselves to improve at whatever task they were facing, and this program allows them to do that. I couldn’t have asked for a better week and I’m blown away by the love and support of all of the staff and volunteers.

  3. Lee Gentry    

    I agree with “DannyG” about the ID cards! I volunteered at the USO Lounge in Denver International Airport for 8 years. I also volunteer at the Breckenridge Ski Area. Love to see the Vets come through DIA and then interact with them when they come to Breckenridge Outdoor Education Program to ride and ski! Super way to pay back!

  4. DannyG    

    Speaking of DAV – Does it bother anyone else that the new Disabled AMERICAN Veterans Id cards are lime green & black !? MY Country’s colors, & the only colors I fly OR SUPPORT are
    RED, WHITE, & BLUE!!!

    Pls let me & (especially) DAV know…..

  5. Steroizi Online    

    It must be such a good sensation!! Beside that, this program give people a hope. Many of us doesn’t went to ski even if we were healthy.

Comments are closed.