“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
For veterans, the transition to civilian life is often tough but those with physical or mental issues, especially, can become isolated and struggle. Our ski week offers a transformative break to help start a new phase in the transition to civilian life and a relationship with SWV, as well as kick-start the recover process.
How it works
Every year, 25 veterans from the UK are selected to go to Klosters, in Switzerland. As well as skiing with qualified adaptive ski instructors, the trips provide the chance to discuss pain management needs and career interests with SWV’s coordinators. This ensures every veteran can receive further support and bespoke mentoring following the trip. There is also a valuable opportunity to share experiences with other wounded veterans.
Medical professionals are on hand, including a GP and sports medicine specialist, a physiotherapist, an osteopath, a sports masseur and a psychologist. In addition to medical clinics, there are evening sessions in Relaxation, Mindfulness and Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).
After the week, each veteran is provided with a mentor to provide guidance and support throughout the ongoing recovery process.
Joining the programme
Applications for the 2022 and 2023 Ski Week are open. Due to the Swiss entry requirements, to join us on the Ski Week you will need to have been double vaccinated against Covid-19 by December 2021.
Our Ski Week programme would not be possible without volunteer ski buddies, who help the veterans both on and off the slopes. Each year, 20 individuals of all ages and backgrounds are selected and raise at least £1,500 to cover their costs and a donation to SWV.
Veteran Pathway: The Ocean Challenge
SWV ran its inaugural Ocean Challenge in 2018 with four international teams training and competing in the famous 'Round the Island Race' in the Isle of Wight.
Veteran Sean Rose captained one of the teams consisting of former servicemen and women, and his crew was awarded the MS Amlin Seamanship Award for embodying the #RaceForAll ethos of the event.
"Four of us on the crew were wounded in service; Donna had thirteen surgeries and has a double spine infusion and lives from day to day with chronic pain and fatigue - and I'm a wheelchair user, paralysed from the ribs down, so I had to move around the boat on my backside. We also had two sailors with PTSD, so being in the confines of a small boat, living with each other for a week, was extremely challenging."
Future Ocean Challenge activities have been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Further details about the opportunity to compete in 2022 will be posted here when available.
Watch SWV's video about the 2018 Ocean Challenge