Wounded Warriors Learn To Ski

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

January 29, 2006

Wounded warriors from Walter Reed Hospital gathered to learn or re-learn a new sport--but these aren't your typical athletes. Andrew Butterworth, for example is riding the mono-ski for the first time and yes, he's balancing all of his weight on one ski.

"Out here on the slopes or out on the water or something it's an even playing field. You can do anything you want to do. You're mind is your limit, you know? So--it's fun," said Butterworth.

Butterworth lost his right leg while serving in Iraq last November.

"I was really close to dying when I was out there because I lost a lot of blood and everything else, but I'm here, I'm happy and I'm just moving on," said Butterworth.

Over the weekend, 25 took lessons from 90 volunteers.

Between the wind and the rain, they were not ideal skiing conditions, but some soldiers still came out to brave the slopes.

Butterworth first re-learned to ski last February, only 3 months after losing his leg.

"Just because you are injured, or are in a wheelchair, or have lost your arm, or whatever--you're life is not over," Butterworth said.

This is why organizers teach these men and women how to use their new bodies.

"Some are in wheelchairs, some walk with crutches, some are in prosthesis--but especially in the sport of skiing or snowboarding, they can be as good if not better than most able-bodied people," said Michael Zuckerman of Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing.

Wintergreen Adaptive Skiing program works with more than just members of the military and is in it's 11th year.

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