The High Fives Foundation, an action sports non-profit, and disabled athlete organization the Adaptive Training Foundation collaborated on a short film, “Military to the Mountains.”
Veteran Marine Ryan Zimmerer is the driving voice and story behind the short film. “The physical pain, yeah its bad, but it’s tolerable. I can forget the pain and go on,” said Zimmerer. “It’s the emotional and mental pain that’s the hard part for me.”
In 2014, the High Fives Foundation and the Adaptive Training Foundation began a program called Military to the Mountains. Injured U.S. Military veterans are trained for nine weeks at the Adaptive Training Foundation in Dallas, TX, preparing for a week of skiing at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in California. The veterans are instructed by Achieve Tahoe adaptive ski program.
“The goal of the program is to offer wounded war-fighters an opportunity to tap back into their physicality by pushing through mental and physical barriers,” said David Vobora, founder and CEO of the Adaptive Training Foundation. “Experiencing the mountains for the first time post-injury redefines their limits and ignites new passion to take ridge lines they no longer thought were possible.”
The effort is organized and funded by the High Fives Foundation, whose mission is to provide resources and inspiration to mountain action sports athletes with life-altering injuries.
“We’re dedicated to improving the physical and emotional health of U.S. veterans,” said Roy Tuscany, executive director of the High Fives Foundation. “It’s been an extremely rewarding opportunity to bring all of these organizations together to honor these men and women who have been injured serving our country.”
The project received funding from Chive Charities, the philanthropic arm of the entertainment website TheChive, allowing for another year of sustainability. It also attracted support from 16 other national sponsors.
“As warriors, we don’t need a hand out, we need a hand up,” said Jake Schick, a U.S. veteran Marine who helped pilot the program in 2014. “So if you give us an example of greatness to follow, we’re going to follow it.”
The film about Ryan Zimmerer and the others involved in the Military to the Mountains project can be viewed here.