A Higher Calling
September 14, 2021
Article by: Stacey Zavadil
If you see the Military to the Mountain crew on the hill this winter, give them a high five.
“At one time, the veterans we ski and snowboard with in the Military to the Mountain (M2M) program were perceived as ‘broken,’” says M2M co-founder Roy Tuscany. “And because they might be missing limbs or suffering from severe PTSD, they might have believed it too. But when they finish nine weeks of physical and mental conditioning, and cap it with a week of skiing and snowboarding, they return to their daily lives whole. They aren’t broken. And in my mind, they never were.”
If you were lucky enough to ski with the 10 veterans last winter on Granby Ranch, you’d surely concur. Here’s the quick background: When Ridgeline Executive Group (the management company operating Granby Ranch) Founding Partner Andy Wirth was with Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Wirth, Tuscany (the founder of the adaptive sports center High Fives), and former NFLer David Vobora were brainstorming how to give back to those that sacrificed for us. They came up with a special pass program, the proceeds of which paid for 22 veterans a year to attend a nine-week winter sports conditioning camp at Vobora’s Adaptive Training Foundation center in Texas. Strong as hell and mentally prepared to take on an entirely new challenge, the veterans topped off the training with a week of shredding on sit skis, outriggers, and prosthetics— whatever it takes—and as Tuscany would put it, reveling in the stoke of it all. Military to the Mountain was born. The Squaw event is heading into its sixth season.
Last winter, M2M debuted at Granby Ranch. In fact, paired up with High Fives, Granby Ranch ski instructors, a team of coaches from Winter Park’s famed National Sports Center for the Disabled, plus 10 veterans, the crew took over the mountain—hooting and hollering the entire time. Each veteran completed the entire program. Undoubtedly, a few will come back to serve as 10-week mentors to the next class. Some will develop a passion for skiing and snowboarding. If so, M2M will buy the gear. One graduate is headed to the Paralympics.
In the end, though, it’s not really about skiing: “The byproduct of sport is community,” says Tuscany. “And it’s the community and connections we make that transform the lives of everyone involved.”
The 2022 Granby Ranch Military to the Mountain program is scheduled for March 26 through April 3. High Fives Foundation is a 501(c )3 nonprofit organization. For those interested in supporting the Granby Ranch Military to the Mountain program please visit highfivesfoundation.org
This story appears in Granby Ranch’s fall mini-magazine edition. For more information or to get a print copy, please email eloveland (@) granbyranch.com.