High Fives Foundation

Military to the Mountains gives veterans hope and healing

April 20, 2017

This view seemed like a million miles away last year.

On April 20, 2016, Chive Charities had just announced a $64,000 grant to send 10 veterans to High Fives Foundation’s Military to the Mountains (M2M) program, a 10-week initiative proven to restore physical and mental health through adaptive training and restorative experiences. We had seen the difference M2M made for Jake Schick and Chris Wolff, both combat-injured veterans with multiple physical limitations, and knew we had to help.

Fast forward to April 3, 2017: 22 veterans descended upon Lake Tahoe, California for a week of skiing, five-star dining, and the kind of camaraderie they knew from serving in the military. They had spent nine weeks working at adaptive training facilities near their homes, building strength and skills needed to ski despite their physical limitations, and it was time to put all that effort to the test.

Participants enjoyed several perfect days of skiing, and took advantage of nearby Woodward Tahoe indoor action sports facility when the weather was uncooperative. Goals were met and surpassed, and the word “ability” was completely redefined.

Returning Army veteran Will Hoyum, who attended Military to the Mountains in 2016, was thrilled with his improved endurance.

“[Last year] I was only able to ski 30 meters unassisted before falling, and that was the same on the morning of the first day this year,” said Hoyum. “This year I skied almost 200m! I’m starting to get it, this is amazing!”

Military to the Mountains is organized by High Fives Foundation, whose mission is to provide resources and inspiration to mountain action sports athletes with life-altering injuries. We’re so excited for each of the program participants and their renewed self-confidence and hope, and thankful to High Fives Foundation for supporting our nation’s veterans.

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