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Firsthand Report: Wounded Warfighter Weekend at Liberty Mountain
By Connie Lawn, DCSki Columnist
March 10, 2012

The snow held out for the Warfighters to enjoy what turned out to be the season’s end at Liberty. On March 2, 2012, the Friday evening banquet at the Gettysburg Hotel was followed by a sunny and mild Saturday with enough wind to keep the snow surface from ponding. A live band playing wonderful music, hula hoops, and other competitions on the patio added to the festive atmosphere. Flowered leis were seen everywhere. The sun and merriment definitely helped heal the wounds from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Warfighter weekend is a great bonding experience for all of us. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

This year, 6 warfighters and their families were assisted by Liberty instructors, staff, and eight volunteers. Donations to BRASS (Blue Ridge Adaptive Snow Sports) from Snow Time, Gettysburg local merchants, and the public enable these special programs to continue. They are organized by Leslie and Dick White of BRASS and Liberty ski instructors donate the lessons using BRASS adaptive equipment and rental equipment from Liberty Mountain Resort.

Tanya has overcome lower extremity injuries and post-traumatic stress to do lower Blue Streak with style! Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

With the season waning, Liberty and the other Snow Time areas (Whitetail and Roundtop) look at ways to continue and enhance their programs next year. Mike Case, the Director of Mountain Safety, tells us he has 70 patrol volunteers who try to keep the slopes as safe as possible. They talk to reckless and out of control athletes, but rarely take away their passes. And they tell snowboarders that no dangerous flips are permitted.

Trippi Penland, Eddie O’Neal, Tanya Bailey, and Alex Milley. Eddie and Tanya are enthusiastic repeaters from last year and are being recruited as instructor candidates. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

Tom Penland (of the skiing Penland Clan) tells us his programs for younger skiers will continue. They are called “Junior Dev” or Junior Development. About 300 young superstars train from 9 am to 3 pm in four-week clinics. The ones I met were enthusiastic, and looking forward to a new season next winter!

Tony and Tanya married on Veterans Day this year. Photo provided by Charles Sneiderman.

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