Adaptive skiers find community at High Fives Foundation camp
Adaptive skiers experienced new heights during the High Five on the Hill camp at Winter Park Resort. The High Fives Foundation organized the three-day camp, where athletes explored the resort, including the terrain park, groomers and even trees. The camp took place from Jan. 10-14, beginning with a tubing trip at Colorado Adventure Park before athletes headed to the resort to meet up with National Sports Center for the Disabled instructors. Some athletes, including former snowboard coach Chris Walker, were just learning adaptive skiing after their injuries. Others, such as Justin Hirshfield, were expert skiers looking to mentor those new at the sport.
“We all got to reconnect with old friends, create new ones and ski some amazing conditions!” wrote monoskier Nick Fairall after the camp. “All of us athletes had a great time and we are super grateful for all the volunteers and staff at HighFives that helped make this camp happen. It’s a great community that’s helping change people’s lives!”
“Ohana (family), skiing, sledding, and eating amazing food is a great way to summarize our ski week in Winter Park. It was beyond anything I could have dreamed of,” wrote Annijke Wade. “It was my first time skiing since my accident 1 and 1/2 years ago. It was so fun learning to mono ski with great lessons from the NSCD.”
- Cassie Eckroth — An intermediate monoskier, she progressed her technique during camp.
- Erica Smith — She skied for the time since her injury, on a monoski.
- Annijke Wade — She skied for the first time since her injury, on a monoski.
- Chris Waker — He skied for the first time since his injury, on a bi-ski. Chris used to coach the U.S. development snowboard team.
- Rachel Zoeller — She skied for the time since her injury, on a monoski.
- Matt Tychsen — An expert monoskier, he mentored the new athletes.
- Justin Hirshfield — An expert monoskier, he mentored the new athletes. Hirshfield is a head chef in Niwot.
- Jim Harris — An expert monoskier, he mentored the new athletes. Harris is a former mountaineering instructor and enjoys all forms of the outdoors, including nature photography.
- Nick Fairall — An expert monoskier, he mentored the new athletes. Fairall competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics in ski jumping.
The Foundation’s CEO and founder, Roy Tuscany, also joined the camp with staff and volunteers. After sustaining a spinal cord injury while skiing in 2006 that rendered him paraplegic, Tuscany was determined to walk out of the hospital. To stay positive, he greeted every visitor and hospital employee with a high five. After overcoming his paralysis, Tuscany founded the California-based High Fives Foundation in 2009 to support athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing sports, as well as veterans. The nonprofit foundation offers grants, snow safety education and community-building camps to help athletes reimagine what’s possible for them post-injury.
To learn more about the High Fives Foundation or become involved in their mission, visit HighFivesFoundation.org.
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