Thirty-nine Canadian Forces members from across Canada will participate in the ninth annual National Veteran’s Festival, a five-day ski/boarding program on Mount Washington that runs Feb. 2-6.
Hosted by the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS) and Mount Washington Alpine Resort, with major funding from the Soldier On Program and the True Patriot Love Foundation, the festival introduces ill and injured serving and retired CF members to adaptive alpine, snowboard and Nordic skiing,
“We are very excited that this program has grown so quickly,” said VISAS Veteran’s Festival organizer Glen Hooge. Starting in 2006 with one participant, this year 39 men and women from across Canada have signed up for a week of ski and boarding instruction.
“We’ve seen people’s lives change in the course of a few sort days,” added Hooge. “Our volunteer instructors are proud to be part of the Festival, and know that the challenges and accomplishments experienced by the veterans are deeply meaningful.”
Arriving in the Valley on Sunday, Feb. 1, the vets have a week packed not only of snow sports, but a chance to socialize and get to know the community. “The local support has been outstanding,” said Hooge.
Sponsors and financial support for this event include several private donators, Comox and Lantzville Legions and the Whistle Stop Pub. 19 Wing at CFB Comox will provide daily transportation to and from the hill. Branch 160 Royal Canadian Legion Comox will host the closing awards banquet in Comox on Friday, Feb. 6. An open media day will be held on Thursday, Feb. 5.
For more information on the Veteran’s Festival, VISAS, and/or to enter a team for Herb Bradley Pepsi Challenge Fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 15, or for donations, visit www.visasweb.ca. You can also follow VISAS on Facebook and on Flickr.
– Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports