Disabled veteran from Juneau is skiing the great Rocky Mountains

Posted: Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Susan Macaulay, an Air Force veteran from Juneau, enjoyed the challenge of skiing, and the opportunity for self-development at the 17th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. The Clinic took place the week of April 4, in Snowmass Village, Colo. Established in 1987, the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic is the largest event of its kind in the world. It is co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).

Macaulay, 37, is among 305 U.S. military veterans from 39 states who have gathered in Snowmass to learn or improve their skills in adaptive Alpine and Nordic skiing. The Clinic promotes rehabilitation by teaching downhill and cross-country skiing to veterans with significant physical or visual impairments. The Clinic also offers a variety of adaptive activities and sports, including scuba dicing, rock climbing, handcycling, horseback riding, and self-defense (taught by the United States Secret Service).

Macaulay has neurological damage from a brain injury and receives care at the VA medical facility in Anchorage. She is a beginner skier and will Alpine (downhill) ski using a bi-ski.

"I live in the small town of Juneau, and there are not many disabled people there," said Macaulay. "I attended the Winter Sports Clinic last year for the first time and I became aware of things I could do that I would never have even tried before coming. My self esteem was raised tremendously. Before my injury, I skied the Olympic Women's Downhill run at Innsbruck, Austria. I never thought I could do anything like that again, but the Clinic gave me a chance to try learning alternate ways of skiing."

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