High Fives Foundation Funds Our 100th Injured Athlete By Bringing Veterans Skiing
Partnership with Squaw Valley Brings Adaptive Military Athletes to the Snow
Lake Tahoe-based High Fives Foundation has now officially helped 100 athletes in recovery from life-altering injuries since it was established in 2009. The Foundation announces that it will host and train 10 injured veterans of the United States armed forces on the slopes of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows this spring.
The High Fives Foundation gives support and inspiration to mountain sports athletes with life-altering injuries through board-approved Empowerment Grants towards their recovery goals.
“When we started the Foundation, we had a goal to give grant funding to one athlete per year,” said High Fives Foundation Executive Director and co founder Roy Tuscany. “In seven years, we’ve blown that goal out of the water, but it’s really special that our 100th athlete will be part of a group of military veterans.”
The veterans, all US Military Service men who were injured during tours of duties overseas, will go skiing with the “Military to the Mountains” program created in 2014 by the High Fives Foundation. The program is a multifaceted partnership between Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, High Fives Foundation, Achieve Tahoe (formerly Disabled Sports USA Far West) and Adaptive Training Foundation from Dallas, Texas. Each organization provides their specialized services to bring this group onto the snow.
Military to the Mountains begins for the injured veterans in January in Dallas, Texas, as they endure a 9-week training class with the Adaptive Training Foundation (ATF). Using specialized training techniques for athletes with injuries, the veterans will strength-build to take on skiing in at Squaw Valley. They are trained by retired NFL linebacker David Vobora, founder of ATF.
When they arrive in Olympic Valley, California in March, the High Fives Foundation and Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows will provide logistics and accommodations throughout the six-day program from March 27 through April 1, 2016.
The Empowerment Grant also includes ski lessons from Achieve Tahoe, an adaptive snow sports school located at Alpine Meadows. They will provide instructors to teach the veterans to ski, regardless of their injury or ability level.
“To hit the 100 mark goal knowing I was the first person High Fives helped, shows that our impact has grown so massively,” said Steve Wallace who was the first High Fives Athlete to receive grant funding after his 2010 spinal cord injury. “This shows just how large our community is to rally around injured athletes and veterans.” Since his recovery, Wallace now works as the Program Coordinator for the High Fives Foundation assisting other athletes in their recovery process from life-altering injuries.
The 100th High Fives Athlete is former U.S. Army Sgt. Brendan Marrocco who lost both arms and legs in Iraq in 2009. Soldiering on, he received a rare double arm transplant in 2012 and is working with the Adaptive Training Foundation in Dallas, Texas to build the strength to ski in March.
“It’s fantastic to receive a grant to take on the mountains alongside other veterans,” said Marrocco. “I am thankful for all of the organizations involved and their support to create amazing experiences.”
Each of the 10 veterans skiing in the 2016 Military to the Mountains program were wounded in the War on Terror with injuries like amputations and spinal cord injuries. Their skiing techniques will each be individually adapted for success on the snow.
To sustain the Military to the Mountains Program for years to come, Squaw Valley now provides a Tahoe Super Pass to military personnel, along with a note of appreciation and a challenge coin for a donation of $25, of which all proceeds support “Military to the Mountains” and “22Kill” an organization dedicated to ending veteran suicides.
Additional donations are also accepted at the resort on behalf of these organizations, and online donations will be coming soon. Those interested in purchasing this pass must present their U.S. Active Duty Military ID at the Guest Services and Sales Center at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows.
About High Fives Foundation
High Fives Non-Profit Foundation, based in Truckee, CA, became an official 501c.3 non-profit on January 19, 2009. Founded by Roy Tuscany, the Tahoe-based Foundation supports the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who suffer life-altering injuries. For more information, visit www.highfivesfoundation.org.
About Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is an internationally renowned mountain resort in North Lake Tahoe that spans over 6,000 skiable acres. The resort features slopeside lodging at The Village at Squaw Valley®, which bustles year round with nonstop events and nearly 60 bars, restaurants and boutiques. With an annual average of 450 inches of snowfall and 300 sunny days, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is known as the spring skiing capital as it provides one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in Lake Tahoe. Over 65 percent beginner and intermediate terrain and 14 easy-to-navigate mountain zones welcome skiers and riders of all ability levels. Visit squawalpine.com or call 1.800.403.0206 to learn more.
About Adaptive Training Foundation
Adaptive Training Foundation’s mission is to restore hope through movement to those with physical impairments. In January of 2014 David Vobora, a 5-year veteran of the NFL met US Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills. David opened up his gym, and offered up his training expertise to Travis, who despite being a quadruple amputee, never lost the inner desire to live “Army Strong.” David developed a passion for helping those with life-altering injuries find a path to life-fulfilling activity and fitness through adaptive performance training. For more info visit http://www.adaptivetrainingfoundation.org/
About Achieve Tahoe
Achieve Tahoe is a unique North Lake Tahoe-based non-profit organization, teaching specialized ski and snowboard lessons seven days a week on the slopes of Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley and Northstar Resorts. Staffed by a corps of over 150 trained instructors, 90% of whom are volunteers, they serve people of any age with physical, sensory and intellectual challenges. Find out more at www.achievetahoe.org.