Wounded warriors skiing at Tahoe

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TRUCKEE, Calif. (KOLO) -- He can ski well, but he can't see well. A California man is ripping up the slopes this week, even though he's visually impaired.

By watching him, you would never guess Sergio Monzon can't see very well.

"I have double and blurred vision and I have no depth perception and I lose my vision in low light," said Monzon.

A lack of vision is problematic when skiing because avoiding obstacles, deciding where to turn, and determining how fast to go are all reliant on sight.

"When you lose vision, you kinda pick up on other senses. I notice that I can feel people coming to my left by hearing them and listening to the noise as it gets louder," said Monzon.

That's not all he is listening to. Monzon wears a headset that directly communicates to his guide, Jennifer Knox, who acts as his extra set of eyes.

"I am trying to give Sergio instructions on terrain and turn shapes," said Knox, describing what she says over the headset.

Know is an instructor at Achieve Tahoe, an organization with a simple goal: get disabled people out on snow enjoying something they though never possible.

"It's heaven, basically. You are just out there and the turns, the snow, it just changes everything. It makes a bad day become a good day," said Monzon

Those good days are important for Sergio. It was one particular bad day about a decade ago, when he started to lose his vision. He was in Iraq.

"I lost some vision there from a traumatic brain injury," said Monzon.

As a Marine, Monzon was serving in Fallujah when he took a mortar round. The blast and subsequent surgeries changed his life. A decade later his life is again changed.

"You are going to let it run your life or you are going to run your life," said Monzon.

Monzon is part of a group of disabled veterans who are skiing at Lake Tahoe this weekend. Achieve Tahoe provides the camp for free. It is completely supported by donations.



 
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