Once a year the VA Hospital recreational therapy program hit's the slopes at Holiday Valley in Ellicottville. The vets are taking advantage of the Lounsbury Adaptive Ski program headed up by Bill Bredenburg who says "we have three objectives: one, be safe, two, have fun and three, learn something."
Forty-five instructors volunteer their time to work with skiers who face a variety of challenges. Mark Dunford is the only one of those instructors who actually uses the adaptive ski equipment. He was injured in an accident in the military and now skis on a mono-ski.
Mark is also a veteran and has a unique understanding of the challenges that veterans face when that take on skiing. He says "when I see somebody have a similar reaction that I had when I first started skiing, I can say look-I felt exactly the same way."
Holiday Valley's Lounsbury Adaptive Ski program gives between two and three hundred lessons a season. While the program is all volunteer, Instructor Mark Dunford says he gets "paid in smiles".
You can find more information at their website.