More than 10 years after losing his right leg below the knee in an explosion fighting in the Iraq War, Marine Corporal Jake Schick was given the opportunity to ski for the first time in more than a decade. And now he’s returning the favor to other wounded veterans.
Through the High Five Foundation’s “Military to the Mountains” project, Schick will bring veterans of the U.S. armed forces skiing this winter at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe, Calif., which has an entire ski program dedicated to disabled athletes.
Schick served in the Marine Corps for six years. His unit was deployed to Iraq in 2004. In September of that year, the vehicle he was driving struck a mine. In addition to his leg being amputated, Schick endured 46 operations and 23 blood transfusions.
Ten years later, when first presented with the idea of hitting the slopes, fear consumed Schick. Thoughts of more injuries filled his mind. But he knew he needed to push the bounds of his comfort zone – and what better way than to try skiing without a leg?
Outfitted with a custom-made prosthetic and empowered by the support and encouragement of his coach, Schick made it all the way down the mountain on his first attempt.
This video details his first experience on the mountain.
And now, thanks to an anonymous donor, Jake and the High Fives Foundation are expanding the program to help more veterans experience the mountain. It’s a way for the organization to tell its story and those of the wounded veterans choosing to make athleticism a way of life.
The project is being done in collaboration with the Adaptive Training Foundation, which is based in Dallas, Texas. According to High Fives’ website, “The mission of the Adaptive Training Foundation is providing modified methods of training to restore hope to all those with physical impairments, especially with members of the veteran community who are severely injured.”
“Physical limitations are just that – they’re physical limitations,” Schick says in the video. “They’re not mental limitations. How far are you willing to let your physical limitations get ahead of your mentality? It’s all about trusting yourself and your ability.”
ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY DISCOUNTED PASS
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows stands behind all of our men and women in the U.S. armed forces. As a thank you, we offer U.S. active duty military a restricted Tahoe Super Pass.
The cost of the season pass is a $25 donation that will support these organizations: