Keith Deutsch, a tailgate machine gunner who lost his right leg to an Iraqi RPG says, “Without sports, I’d be sitting in a corner. It’s changed my life.”
They will be Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, playing sled hockey, skiing and shooting in a biathlon, wheelchair curling, and more.
This is a genuinely unique and enthralling event that I think is a great story of amputee veterans and their lives after combat.
I want to introduce you to Army Specialist Matthew Ryan, who was told he’d never run or ski again after losing his right leg to an IED in Afghanistan. But last December, he was on a snowboard shushing down the slopes of Breckenridge! Ryan was one of more than 100 wounded warriors at The Hartford’s Ski Spectacular last year. “It brings you back to the things you love,” Ryan said.
The Hartford Ski Spectacular is December 4-11 at Beaver Run Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado. The participants range in ability from first-time skiers to members of the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team (USAST).
Hosted by Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA), programs offered at The Hartford Ski Spectacular help amputees and help strengthen adaptive ski programs in communities throughout the U.S.A. It also identifies and trains youth, wounded warriors, and others with disabilities who strive to be winter Paralympians.
A week of ski race training, sponsored by U.S. Paralympics, prepares athletes for the 2012 U.S. Disabled Alpine Ski Championships in Sugarbush, Vt. and Aspen, Co.; the 2012 World Championships in La Molina, Spain; and the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
New this year are the sled hockey and wheelchair curling clinics, culminating in an exhibition game with a wheelchair curling. The ski instructor academy, endorsed by Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI), offers training for instructors in the latest and safest adaptive ski techniques for skiers with disabilities. Learning programs in Alpine and Nordic skiing, Biathlon, and snowboarding are also offered.
Numerous wounded warriors will be available to be interviewed in advance of and at the event, speaking about their experiences and how sports helped them build confidence, fitness and independence and in some cases, gave them their lives back – their words, not mine.
Please take a moment to click here for dramatic video.