Wounded vets learn to ski and snowboard at Park City

(KUTV) – Hundreds of wounded veterans from across the United States are taking a run at the slopes of Park City Mountain Resort.

The trip is made possible by Team Semper Fi, an organization that helps wounded soldiers heal physical and emotionally.

“The idea is recovery through sport,” Team Semper Fi Sport Program Director Paul Fitzgerald said. “I think the beauty of an event like this is not just the physical aspect but also the comradery.”

More than 100 vets will spend the week in Park City, learning how to ski and snowboard with a community of people who understand their unique circumstances.

“Getting together and having a sense of community and being able to talk to and relate with people who have been in your shoes and you don’t have to explain things to as much as you can just relate, I think that’s a really successful part of the program,” Fitzgerald said.

Jorge Toledo served for more than 10 years with the Marines. He was serving as a gunner on board helicopter in the Middle East when it crashed in 2011.

“In that helicopter crash, I shattered, splintered my left leg. I’ve had numerous surgeries, skull fracture, lung contusions, collapsed lung,” Toledo said. “If anything, [skiing] is the last thing I ever imagined myself doing.”

But with the help of Team Semper Fi, Toledo left his southern California to come be with other veterans who understand his unique situation.

“Everybody has hard days and everybody always finds themselves kicking rocks once in a while, but when you come to an event like this and you see that there are people who have it so much worse than you and they take such a positive outlook on life,” Toledo said.

Team Semper Fi is able to provide trips like this to the veterans with the support of donations, according to group officials.

For more information about Team Semper Fi, visit their website.