“With my walking stick, I’m an invalid, but on skis, I’m just another person.”
Sport is a proven, potent medium for confidence building. Adaptive skiing enables those with disabilities to level with those without in a way that few other sports can.
The Veteran Ski Week
Every year 25 Veterans from the UK and 4 Veterans from Canada are selected to go on a Ski-Habilitation trip to Klosters, Switzerland. This trip boosts the confidence of both physically and mentally men and women who benefit immensely from this experience. Uniquely, the trip also offers each veteran the chance to discuss their pain management needs and career interests with the Charity coordinators. This ensures that every veteran can receive bespoke mentoring as well as further support following the trip.
For veterans, the transition to civilian life is often tough but for those with physical or mental issues, especially, can become isolated and struggle. The ski trip offers a transformative break. An opportunity to connect with people in similar circumstances and provides a new phase in this transition to civilian life.
The Ski Week is a free opportunity given by SWV to veterans. They will be provided with any kit they may need, as well as 12 qualified adaptive ski instructors, all with years of experience in working with every type of disability. These ski instructors are there to help all veterans of all levels improve their skiing ability and make sure they can enjoy the slopes in safety.
The ski trip would not be possible without the ski buddies. They help the veterans both on and off the slopes. Each year 20 buddies are selected to join the ski week. Each buddy individually raises a minimum of £1500 to cover their own costs and provide a donation towards SWV. Buddies are people of all ages and backgrounds who volunteer to offer company and all kinds of support to the veterans during the Ski Week. Buddies are there to provide encouragement to veterans and to help them to begin their journey with Supporting Wounded Veterans. They are an invaluable part of the experience. Learn more about the Buddy programme.
As can be expected the week involves a significant amount of skiing. Many veterans are complete novices and have other challenges so a team of medical professionals is on hand. These Include:
General Practitioner and Sports Medicine specialist
Every evening these professionals are there to help everyone involved in the week with any injuries or pain they may have. In addition to the medical clinics, each evening there are sessions in Relaxation, Mindfulness and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
The ski week is just the beginning of the relationship a veteran has with SWV, the week kick-starts the process of recovery. During the week the veterans are introduced to the SWV mentoring lead and SWV OTE (occupation, training and employment) Lead. These meetings provide a foundation for future support as each veteran discusses their goals and aspirations and the Leads plan how best these can be achieved. Shortly following the ski week each veteran is then provided with a suitable mentor to provide guidance and support throughout the on-going recovery process. To learn more about the mentorship program please click here. Learn more about mentoring program.
Applications for the 2021 and 2022 Ski Week are now closed. You can still apply but your application will be considered for the 2023 Ski Week.