Vail Veterans Program

Via the Vail Trail – Wounded veterans smile on the slopes

The light was flat, the wind was blowing and there wasn’t much new snow to speak of. For most Vail skiers, it wasn’t a day to be on the mountain.

But for a group of 27 wounded veterans at Vail’s Golden Peak, the skiing conditions were of little importance; last Thursday was a day on the mountain and that’s what counted.

After some breakfast at the Larkspur restaurant inside the Golden Peak Lodge, the soldiers met up with their private instructors and headed to the adaptive skiing building next to the high-speed lift. Inside the building, a trio of double-amputee veterans waited to be outfitted on monoskis — a ski attached to a bucket-style seat. When all their equipment seemed to fit, they got back into their wheelchairs and headed to the slopes.

About three hours later, some of the soldiers took a lunch break at the Golden Peak Lodge.

“When I go out and ski, I kind of forget about everything — like missing my legs. It’s just going out and having fun, and allows you to get away from stress of everyday stuff,” said Cpl. Ray Hennagir.

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