Wounded soldiers hit Park City slopes | ParkRecord.com

Wounded soldiers hit Park City slopes

Returning from war is seldom easy for soldiers. Post-traumatic stress disorder haunts many and those who have been wounded during their service often find challenges in what were once simple tasks of daily life.

That’s where the Semper Fi Fund comes in. The organization is dedicated to taking care of wounded veterans as they make the transition home. Team Semper Fi, the organization’s arm that provides athletic opportunities for post-9/11 service members, is holding its fourth annual Big Mountain Ski and Snowboard camp this weekend, an event that allows wounded veterans the chance to hit Park City’s slopes and learn from world-class Paralympic instructors.

Casey Fisher, manager of Team Semper Fi, said about 60 veterans were scheduled to arrive in town Thursday, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday reserved for skiing and snowboarding at Park City Mountain Resort.

"The reason why we do this is most people like skiing and snowboarding," Fisher said. "This is probably our most popular event outside of the marathons we do. It’s a great opportunity for them to help them recover and get their minds off all the things that they battle every day — the thoughts of war, losing a buddy and that kind of stuff. It gives them an outlet."

The soldiers’ disabilities range from amputations to injuries that limit them to wheelchairs. Fisher said getting soldiers out on the slopes is one way to help them overcome their injuries.

"Sports are a really neat tool to get someone out of depression or to help them overcome an injury they sustained during their service," Fisher said. "It’s very neat to see these people out there and to help them get to a better place."

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Being able to help people who have given so much for their country is a gratifying experience, Fisher said. The road to recovery — both mental and physical — is often long for wounded veterans, but the Semper Fi Fund does what it can to make it a little bit easier.

"There are guys who are able to turn it off and walk away and be OK," Fisher said. "But there are others who have to see counseling and do stuff like that. The stuff they have to battle is hard. One of the things we try to focus on is not looking in the rear-view. We look out the windshield and do what we have to move forward."