Waterville Valley to Welcome Disabled Soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center

By AlpineZone News |
Feb 28 2005 - 03:10 PM

WATERVILLE VALLEY, New Hampshire ??” On the weekend of March 18 to 20, Waterville Valley is slated to host 10 to 15 disabled soldiers who recently lost limbs fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. With assistance from Disabled Sports U.S.A., a national nonprofit organization established in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans to serve the war injured, these U.S. soldiers, currently undergoing rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, will experience the joy of skiing and learn that they can continue to lead fulfilling lives.

Soldiers will be flown from Washington, DC, to Waterville Valley, NH, with help from Southwest Airlines and ground service will be donated by The Shuttle Connection, serving the Manchester, NH, Boston, MA, and Portland, Maine airports. Upon arrival to Waterville Valley, the soldiers will be greeted by members of the local community who will be hosting the visitors in their homes. Judy Brady, of the Silver Streaks, a local over-50 group of snowsports enthusiasts, is heading the hospitality committee.

For three days, specially-trained instructors with the Waterville Valley Adaptive Skiing Program will work with the soldiers to introduce, or reintroduce, them to the joys of snow skiing.

“This is a great way for us to reach out to the men and women who have made huge sacrifices to secure our freedom and to bring democracy to the people of the Middle East,” says Waterville Valley Adaptive Skiing Program Director Kathy Chandler. “We hope that our expertise in teaching people with disabilities and our enthusiasm for skiing will help show these brave soldiers that they can continue to live full, productive lives that include recreational pursuits like skiing and snowboarding.”

A full weekend of social events is planned and has been organized with help from the Waterville Valley Community Hospitality Committee. A welcome reception at the Snowy Owl is planned for Friday night, March 18. Following a day on the slopes, Saturday, March 19, Diamond’s Edge Restaurant , located at Waterville Valley’s Town Square, will host a dinner. This celebration of achievement will be a chance for the soldiers and their new friends to socialize and reflect on the challenges and successes of their days on the snow.

Waterville Valley’s Adaptive Skiing Program operates under the 501(c)(3) non-profit status of AbilityPLUS. The Adaptive Skiing Program was founded in 1992 by Kathy Chandler, a PSIA-Certified Adaptive Examiner and former Ski School Director. Today the program is guided by over eighty dedicated and highly-trained volunteer instructors who teach lessons seven days a week.

Group and private lessons are available any day, including holiday periods. Lesson prices range from $50 to $75, and include and all-mountain lift ticket, the use of specially designed adaptive ski equipment and one-on-one instruction.

To schedule a lesson, volunteer as an instructor, or to learn more about the program, please call 603-236-8311 ext. 3175, or visit www.waterville.com.