Disabled veterans learning to ski this weekend

Published: Feb. 25, 2016 at 6:16 PM PST
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A traumatic injury, especially one received during service in the military, can drastically restrict someone's ability to be physically active. But this week a group of vets are learning their disabilities don't define them and they can do anything they set their minds to.

Thursday morning, Virginia City’s Jim Kempner was getting ready for his first run of the day.

"I used to ski when I was younger up in Tahoe, when I was in my late 20s, early 30s," said Kempner.

But back then skiing was a lot different. In those days, Jim could stand up.

"You do a few things different, but you are still skiing down the hill," said Kempner.

Jim now uses what is called a monoski. It is a seat that is attached to a standard snow ski. He steers with outriggers.

"You just lean into the corners and come down the hill and get ready for your next run. It's great," said Kempner. "Definitely not something I thought I would ever be doing, but I am glad I am."

"Once they get out here and try a high-challenge sport, we are hoping they can go away and do other things in their lives so they can embody our motto, “If I can do this, I can do anything,”" said Haakon Lang-Ree, Executive Director of Achieve Tahoe, the organization putting on the disabled veteran event.

"These guys... they are very very special because they are our American heroes and we owe them a lot and it is a great chance to give something to these guys who have put forth a lot in their lives for our country," said David Murakami, Instructor at Achieve Tahoe.