• Jeff Ward

Veteran SKIERS Sought For Adaptive Snowsports Guide program at Mt Buller

Updated: May 30

Wintersport season is almost upon us, but what does this mean for our Veteran community? Australia is not a country known for its long winters and snowcapped peaks. We have a small window of opportunity to enjoy the pleasures that the cold nights of winter bring on some of our higher mountain peaks and the villages that occupy our alpine landscape. That elusive SNOW is an absolute playground for those that the winter sports bug has bitten. Many Veterans have been able to pursue this passion as the ADF embraces the inherent connection between sport, exercise, health, and overall well-being of ADF personnel. Every winter, these Service personnel head off to participate in their respective Service and Inter-Service skiing competitions, sports that require a very high level of fitness and agility. Over the years, friendships develop and, like other team sports, camaraderie builds from mutual trust and respect amongst every team member. For some, this annual pilgrimage is a passion that might defy all logic given the climatic conditions, but no different to the passion shared by those dedicated to our football codes.

But what happens to those Veterans that have been injured or incapacitated during their Service and subsequently find themselves side-lined from the sport they love? Their injuries may have also necessitated leaving their career and profession of choice. The extreme feelings of loss and sadness when these events occur can have very detrimental effects on a Veterans health and well-being. It doesn't necessarily take a life-threatening injury to ruin a person's snowsports future either. Appearances can be deceiving, a significant lower limb injury can be enough to stop a person's snowboarding or skiing future, yet they might still be quite capable of taking the dog for a walk. On the other hand, the loss of senses such as eyesight or hearing, or the loss of a limb, can challenge every aspect of a person's daily life, let alone even participating in a challenging winter sport such as alpine skiing or snowboarding.

BUT WAIT!! What if you could change all that? What if you could assist a fellow Veteran to continue participating in that winter sport they were once so passionate about? And while doing so, improve your health and well-being by getting some serious mountain air and good karma in the process. Adaptive Snow Sports is about adapting traditional snow sports equipment and lessons to provide accessible support systems to allow people with a wide range of incapacities and disabilities to take to the snow and experience the freedom of snow sports. With this equipment and your assistance, all of our fellow Veterans can find freedom on the snow regardless of their incapacity.

Disabled Wintersports Australia (DWA) in conjunction with the Navy Ski Club Mt Buller is offering ADF Veterans with Intermediate to Advanced snow skiing experience the opportunity to participate in Level 1 Adaptive Snow Sports Guide training during a two-day camp at Mt Buller on 26-28 June 2022. You will learn about the fundamental concepts of adaptive snowsports, the various disciplines, select disability groups and presentations, the vast array of adapted equipment, and the fantastic opportunities available to you as a DWA volunteer. Gain an insight into the adaptive snowsport industry, learn how to apply basic safety techniques and have an absolute blast with your fellow trainee guides.

  • There are 12 positions available.

  • Accommodation will be provided at no charge by the RAN Ski Club Lodge Mt Buller.

  • DWA will provide Ski Lift Tickets at no charge.

  • On-mountain Transport is available at no charge.

  • Transport to Buller is available from the Goorambat Veterans Retreat (near Benalla).

  • Meeting at the RAN Ski Lodge late Sunday afternoon 26th June finishing up on the Tuesday afternoon 28th June. The opportunity to stay on at the Lodge at Members rates.

  • The opportunity to assist with the DWA Veteran Camp on Thursday 30th June & Friday 1st July.

  • Once qualified, you will be able to assist any DWA member who might require Guide assistance at Buller and other Australian ski fields.

  • Guides are provided with a Lift Pass and Resort Access pass when volunteering during the season.

  • What an excellent opportunity to help your fellow veterans gain some serious Volunteering karma.

Why Mt Buller, you might ask? Well, Buller is only 3 hours drive from Melbourne; it has 20 ski lifts, the largest lift network in Victoria, including thirteen chairlifts, three of which are high speed. The resort features three Terrain Parks designed for all skill levels, with a dedicated snow grooming team to maintain them in top condition daily. A DWA Resort Services Coordinator is located at Buller during the season to assist Guides and Members with their activities.

Best of all, the ongoing annual membership of The Royal Australian Navy Ski Club is open to all ADF Veterans & their families https://www.ranskiclub.com.au/mt-buller/. A 63-bed lodge offering very affordable accommodation rates to its members

For further information or assistance with registration, please call Phil at the Goorambat Veterans Retreat on 0417 000 921 or email at phil@veteransretreat.com.au. You can download an overview of the DWA Guide training process below. You can find the DWA website at https://www.disabledwintersport.com.au/

Overview of DWA Guide Training Process
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