Friday, November 28, 2014

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Saratoga County

Wounded Warriors weekend at Windham Mountain

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Albany/HV: Wounded Warriors weekend at Windham Mountain
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Military veterans from all over the country are taking to the slopes, enjoying a weekend of winter sports activities at Windham Mountain. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on the ninth annual ‘Learn to Ski and Ride’ event.

WINDHAM, N.Y. -- “It was very frustrating for me. When I was lying in the hospital, one of my concerns was that I would never ski again,” said Bryan Gansner.

But Army veteran Bryan Gansner is now showing off his skills on Windham Mountain with the best of them, only now, he balances on one ski rather than two.

“It’s a single ski on a suspension setup with a seat on top of it. It takes a little bit of balance and a little bit of skill. You tear on down the mountain like everybody else,” said Gansner.

The 12 year veteran sustained injuries to his lower extremities due to an IED, limiting his ability to ski. That’s when he was then introduced to monoskiing, thanks to Wounded Warrior Project and the Adaptive Sports Foundation at Windham Mountain.

Thirty-one service men and women are enjoying the outdoor rehabilitative program aimed to help them expand their comfort zones, relax and enjoy some winter sports activities.

“A lot of them have PTSD. We have some who are amputees, but they all have a common bond and when we get them together to talk. It’s just amazing. They realize they’re not alone,” said Wounded Warrior Event Media Coordinator Karen Feldman.

It’s something military vets are finding comforting on their road to recovery.

“Speaking of the warrior within me, this is one of those things that definitely helps you get out of your shell and just lets you feel normal. Even if it's only for three days, you get to feel normal again,” said Victoria Givens-McMillan.

It allows Givens-McMillan and the other service men and women the opportunity to experience a weekend full of normal, meeting new life-long friends and challenging themselves to things they deemed impossible just a short while ago.

“It gives you some of your freedom back, depending on your injuries, everybody has different limitations or abilities and this is one way to get some of those freedoms and abilities back,” said Gansner.

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