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Injured veterans are focus of ski festival in Sierra Nevada

A military sports camp for injured veterans and their family members is underway in the Sierra Nevada.

The “Ability Celebration and Winter Ski Festival” is providing 34 participants with complimentary ski and snowboard lessons, overnight accommodations in the Village at Squaw Valley, meals and transportation.

“The military sports camp is our annual opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of some of the heroes who have sacrificed so much for our country, and to help them realize what they are capable of,” said Haakon Lang-Ree, executive director of Achieve Tahoe. “Thanks to the unwavering support of our sponsors, this event has tremendous impact on the participants and their families, and will continue to be an annual tradition.”

Participants traveled to North Lake Tahoe from all over the country to participate in specialized private ski and snowboard instruction that will be provided to them free of charge, organizers said in their announcement.

Each person receives lessons specifically designed to support their physical therapy, boost their emotional well-being, build their confidence and ultimately help their reintegration into their communities. The veterans in attendance are also invited to bring a guest to share in their experience and to provide them with support and encouragement.

The Jan. 16-19 military sports camp is sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Warfighter Sports, a program offered by Disabled Sports USA.

“We are proud to be a longtime partner of Disabled Sports USA and to once again serve as lead sponsor for this special event benefiting those who have given so much to serve our country,” said Greg Poulakos, president of Anthem Life. “It is truly inspiring to watch these injured veterans demonstrate to themselves and others what they are capable of at the Ability Celebration.”

The Warfighter Sports program was designed to offer sports rehabilitation for severely wounded warriors in military hospitals and communities across the U.S. through a nationwide network of over 120 community-based chapters of Disabled Sports USA.

The program helps to rebuild lives through sports by improving self-confidence, promoting independence and uniting families through shared healthy activities.

Contributions cover all expenses for participation of the warrior and a family member, including individualized adaptive instruction, adaptive sports equipment, transportation, lodging and meals.

Since 2003, more than 12,000 of the most severely wounded and their families have been served, including those with amputations, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, visual impairments, and significant nerve and muscle damage.

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