Skiing is something I have been wanting for the WWs, a physical challenge that is difficult, requires them to apply their military discipline, they might have to go at it several times, but something they can finally achieve. I feel that, more than the raft trip, this would boost self-esteem and confidence, help them to downplay and disregard their disabilities. And it would introduce them to a great outdoor sport that they could enjoy in the future at their convenience with their buddies and family, not have to wait until summer when the river is up for that once-a-year whitewater trip.
Julie Taulman of STARS (Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports) has now offered a ski camp for Wounded Warriors from VA Hospitals and elsewhere, to include lift tickets, ski gear, accommodations at the ski area, some dinners. Julie will accommodate perhaps 25 Wounded Warriors to be in a 3 day STARS ski camp January 25-28. STARS can accommodate almost any level of disability. Billy Kidd will ski with us. I want to get triple amputee Mark Litynski out from Walter Reed; he is the inspiration that spawned the Warriors On Cataract effort, was on the first raft trip last summer.
I’m attaching the STARS flier announcing this adventure. I put this out to the VA Hospital therapists 2 days ago, already have 11 WWs that want to sign up.
I have been talking with Billy about having the ski areas comp lift tickets and rental gear to WWs and their families on into the future. Kidd knows many of the higher-ups in the area ownerships. He says they don’t often do such things, but we’ll see.
Our whitewater trips for next summer are on the calendar for launches on June 7 and June 14. Let’s hope for a big water year. These combat soldiers are adrenaline junkies, like the big rapids.