Disabled veterans soak up life during national sports clinic | PostIndependent.com

Disabled veterans soak up life during national sports clinic

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Jeff Snover and Scott Winkler lowered themselves from their wheelchairs and into the world’s largest hot springs pool Wednesday. Life is good.The day before, the disabled Army veterans were skiing with adaptive equipment.”You feel free, because you’ve been in chairs all day,” Snover said of the skiing.The pair are two of around 365 participants staying in Snowmass for the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic from April 1 to April 6. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are skiing. On the other days, alternate activities are available like soaking in the hot springs, sled hockey, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, scuba diving, rock climbing and other activities.

“It’s beautiful up here,” Winkler said.The purpose is to develop winter sports skills and take part in a variety of adaptive workshops, demonstrating that having a physical or visual disability need not be an obstacle to an active, rewarding life, according to the clinic’s Web site.Winkler and Snover both have spinal cord injuries. Winkler fell off the back of an ammo truck in Iraq while loading ammo and Snover, as luck would have it, was injured by a falling tree while taking a break at home in Tennessee during his almost 19 years of service. Winkler has served for eight years.They may have been taking it easy at the hot springs Wednesday, but that doesn’t seem like the norm.

“We’re both going for the Paralympics,” Snover said.Winkler is a discus thrower and Snover said he’s competed internationally in table tennis. The Paralympics is a “parallel” event to the Olympics for people with disabilities to compete in the same sports.”Just because you’re disabled, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world,” Winkler said. “There’s so much out there to do.”

Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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