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This past winter, two Paper Tiger employees volunteered many hours over the years to help disabled individuals and wounded veterans enjoy the outdoors.
Paper Tiger owner John King and graphic designer Jason Cline taught Mario Chavez to bi-ski as part of the Santa Fe Adaptive Ski Program.
Then Cline spent a week this month at Colorado’s Snowmass resort with the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic getting veterans back on the slopes.
“It was life changing for me,” says Cline of his experience at Snowmass. “Seeing these guys who fought for our country and without limbs, having the time of their lives, it really puts things in perspective. I worked with four students over the week.
Depending on their disability, my co-instructor and I would choose which equipment was needed.”
This was Cline’s first year participating in the Snowmass program. He was recommended for it by King, who had volunteered before. King also got Cline involved in the Santa Fe Adaptive Ski Program several years ago.
King, an avid skier, has been volunteering in adaptive ski programs for people with disabilities for 25 years beginning at Pajarito Mountain in Los Alamos.
At the Santa Fe Ski Basin, King and Cline worked with Mario Chavez, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy. MD leaves Chavez weak in the extremities.
“His core strength is okay,” says King. “By the end of the season, he was flying down the mountain on a bi-ski — a bucket-like sled with two skis under it — and Jason or I would hold on with a tether. Mario was turning the bi-ski himself, and we were just speed control.”
When asked whether he’d volunteer again, Cline said, “I’ll go back as long as they’ll have me. It’s an amazing experience to help these people.”