By Thea Skinner
21st Space Wing Public Affairs
Get out! From weekend warriors to daily adventurism, outdoor recreation shapes a fit quality of life while fostering bonds between servicemembers and their families.
Getting outside is the goal of retired Army Sgt. Fred Fisher, who, armed with a season pass to ski mountain resorts, traveled to Copper Mountain March 8.
“I like going to the mountains. I am going to keep on doing it as long as I can. If you want to do stuff you have to stay in shape,” said Sergeant Fisher.
In 1999, Sergeant Fisher was wheelchair bound due to a tumor that was wrapped around his spine. After physical therapy and a surgery that partially removed the tumor, Sergeant Fisher appreciates the use of his legs and makes an effort to stay active.
Whether on bike or skis, Sergeant Fisher is cautious, because right of way signals do not always exist on the streets and are also not present on the slopes.
“A lot of times if I am going to the bank or running errands, I will ride my bike,” he said. “The cars do not look out for bikers.”
Outside activities become a family affair
Sergeant Fisher often takes his family and friends outdoors and for outings on his boat. He took his family skiing at Winter Park during the 2008-2009 winter season, purchasing ski lessons and gear for his granddaughter.
“I enjoy getting the family together. I can talk with my family on the drive up and back,” Sergeant Fisher said.
During the winter and summer seasons, the program brings a slew of groups and families to the mountain resorts and other locations with a minimum of two passengers per trip.
“I would rather take two or three people out instead of canceling the trips,” said Dan Ives, programmer for the 21st Force Support Squadron, Outdoor Adventures Program.
Mr. Ives recommends that groups and families plan what they will do on the slopes and during outdoor trips.
“Getting that out in the open is key to planning and to not being on the hill aggravated. I find skiing in groups is fun. It is an interesting balance,” he said. “Most people go on trips for making personal contacts.”
Scheduling time for outdoor fitness activities
Since not all outdoor enthusiasts have a four day work week, scheduling time to be active may pose a challenge. Each person may have their vices, but being diligent in making a commitment to live a healthy lifestyle through activities is crucial to a better quality of life.
“Health is always important,” Mr. Ives said. “Down here (front range) it is easy to forget about the mountains, especially when it is 60 degrees.”
From December 2008 through February 2009 about 150 passengers hit the slopes with the program. The March 8 trip was one of 57 to the mountain ski and snowboard resorts scheduled within the program for the 2008-2009 winter season.
Indoor innovation supports outdoor sports
Woodward, also known as The Barn, is an indoor 20,000 square foot indoor facility that opened at Cooper Mountain in February for practicing jumps and playing year-round. The inside terrain park facility contains foam pits to land in while practicing jumps and tricks, trampolines, stretching and tumbling floors, 10 foot drop-in skateboarding bowls, Bicycle Moto-cross (X) ramps and snowboarding ramps made of Snowflex, a synthetic grass with silica that mimics snow.
Woodward is the only inside terrain park of its kind in the world, said Doug Westenskon, Woodward personnel staff.
“If you wanted to get better at landing 360s or backflips, you can do so in a safe environment. If you mess up your trick on snow, you can really hurt yourself,” Mr. Ives said.
Peterson AFB Outdoor Adventures Program continues mountain resort trips throughout the 2008-2009 winter season. Trips to Copper Mountain and the corresponding Woodward for the 2009 summer season begin May 21.