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Injured veterans break physical boundaries on the mountain

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:22 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It does not matter how someone gets down the mountain: skiing is skiing, and snowboarding is snowboarding.

“It’s so rewarding for someone to think maybe they can’t do something and we provide an adaptive piece of equipment and they can do it,” said the City of Reno’s, April Wolfe.

After a year away from the slopes because of the Coronavirus the City of Reno, Sky Tavern, the High Fives Foundation, and other entities came together at Sky Tavern for the Military to the Mountain Program.

“This program is life-changing,” said Wolfe. “They get to spend that ten weeks together. At the end of it they get to accomplish an amazing goal.”

In the Military to the Mountain program, 15 critically injured military veterans spent nine weeks in the gym training to do what some people might think is physically impossible. In the tenth week, they put their training to the test and hit the slopes. Roy Tuscany is High Five Foundation’s founder and CEO. He also suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury in 2006.

“What I use to get down is these adaptive ski poles. Without them I can’t balance, I can’t turn, I can’t stop,” he said. “This allows me to still ski even if it’s completely different than it ever was before for me. But I get to go skiing.”

Postponing last year’s events because of the pandemic was tough for Tuscany and his friends. But the grants obtained last year from the Department of Veteran Affairs got rolled into this year - allowing the Military to the Mountain program to be even better. Injured vets now get to ski at Sky Tavern, Squaw Valley, and in Colorado all in the next two months.

“We can reintroduce sport and get people back into doing things they love to do prior to their injury,” Tuscany said of the Military to the Mountain program. “We’re reconnecting them with their friends. When we’re with our friends we’re in our best state.”

For more about High Fives Foundation, visit their website.

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