In 2012 a group of friends decided to establish a charity for wounded ex-Iraq and Afghanistan campaign soldiers using skiing as the confidence-building platform. From that starting point, the Skiing With Heroes now supports nearly 50 veterans through an on-going rehabilitation programme dedicated to empowering and supporting the veterans back into employment. Fundamentally, the charity supports veterans after their discharge from the Armed Forces, which is often where the most exacting on-going help is needed.
The charity held its first Ski Week event in Klosters in 2013, during which 18 Veterans were taken to Klosters for seven days of ‘skihabilitation’ – a process whereby wounded veterans regain their confidence and start on a path to fitness, sustained wellbeing and then, if desired, employment. Such was the total success of the inaugural Ski Week, that a second was held in 2014 and our third took place in March 2015, firmly setting the schedule for the Ski Week as an annual event.
On the ski week, we teach them how to ski with the help of a large number of adaptive ski instructors, buddies (who help the veterans on and off lifts, chat to them apres ski, and generally help on the logistics) and a medical team. After the ski week we provide each veteran with a mentor and then use our employment team to get them back into OTE (Occupation, Training and Employment) with, in some cases, treatment in our pain management clinic (which is a joint venture with King Edward VIIth hospital in London).
“Paralympic sport is a proven, potent medium for confidence-building, and skiing levels the odds between the ‘able’ and ‘disabled’ as few sports can. This has been shown to great effect during the inaugural 2013 and 2014 seasons, and injured veterans have used the Skiing with Heroes programme to help to transfom their lives”.
Skiing With Heroes aims to provide lasting solutions for increasing numbers of Veterans and runs all events are held in Klosters – the first resort in Switzerland to seriously embrace disabled skiing and home to the charity’s operational partner, PT Ski.
Founded by Gilly Norton, Skiing With Heroes is chaired by The Lord Glentoran, Olympic Gold Medalist in the two-man bobsleigh, former Grenadier Guard, front bench spokesman, former Conservative Party Shadow Minister of the Olympics, and Chairman of the Paralympic World Cup. The charity has a substantial active committee and draws on a network of supporting people and companies to deliver its annual events and rehabilitation programmes.
The Endeavour Fund is delighted to support Skiing for Heroes on an ongoing basis.