Sports Clinic Brings Disabled Veterans to Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

Written on behalf of Glenwood Hot Springs Resort for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent daily newspaper. 


Sports Clinic Brings Disabled Veterans to Glenwood Hot Springs Resort

As part of the annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, participants were able to enjoy soaking time at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort after fun-packed days on the slopes.

A military discount in The Shop and an ice cream stop at The Grill are just the tip of the iceberg for veterans visiting Glenwood Hot Springs Resort during the annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic. After a long week of action and snow-packed adventure on the slopes, these vets—from all branches of service—were able to relax and recover in the healing waters and reconnect with their peers.

“I look forward to this trip all year,” retired Marine Corpsman John Papi said. “It’s a reunion with my best friends in hot water. What could be better?”

The Department of Veterans Affairs puts on this clinic each spring, hosted in Snowmass Village. From March 31 to April 5, participants were able to experience Rocky Mountain springtime activities, including skiing, sled hockey, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, fly fishing, curling, scuba diving, archery and soaking in the world’s largest hot springs pool.

For many veterans, the Clinic is an amazing opportunity to travel and get out of their comfort zones. Maria Garcia and Alice Pursley, for example, met each other 30 years ago in the Army on their first and third tours. They’ve remained best friends and have decided to add this trip as another joint adventure for the two of them to tackle

“As first-timers that live on the beach, it’s been so neat to try new things and play in the snow,” Garcia said. “The best part, though, is connecting with other veterans from around the country who have seen the world.”

The mission of the Clinic, according to their website, is to give disabled veterans an opportunity to develop winter sports skills and participate in challenging, adaptive workshops; in doing so, participants can see past physical or visual disabilities as obstacles to living active and rewarding lives. After pushing themselves and trying new things, the hope is that these veterans push toward improvements in physical wellbeing, mental health, self-esteem and community readjustment and re-entry.

This rings true for many Clinic-goers. After becoming an amputee, Papi wanted to give back to his community and help others that are going through similar experiences. “When I lost my leg,” Papi said, “I had a pretty easy time and transition. It’s not like that for everyone. I come here and use my knowledge and experience to help others who might be struggling.”

After pausing to splash his Airforce buddy, Papi continued, “I signed up for the military for a higher purpose, and programs like this one help to give back.”

As for Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, they are proud to be a part of the program and host the veterans. “It’s our honor to have these special guests and support the Clinic and visiting veterans,” Kevin Flohr, Director of Operations at Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, said. “After their dedicated service to our country, supporting veterans injured in the line of duty is the least we can do.”