Established in 2005 to serve the increasing number of injured soldiers returning from the Middle East, CAMO focuses on the physical and mental wellbeing of retired military veterans at Aspen Snowmass’ four mountains. This is achieved through professional instruction in skiing and snowboarding that is adapted specifically to each soldiers’ physical and/or cognitive disabilities. Since its inception, the CAMO program has hosted over a thousand servicemen and women with disabilities.
This past winter season, CAMO hosted thirteen retreats, serving 140 veterans with disabilities, their caregivers and spouses in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
“Having the opportunity to come out here, it makes me feel whole again,” says Colby Bowers, U.S. Air Force veteran and CAMO participant. Bowers was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD as a result of his time in combat. Bowers attended CAMO’s Couples Retreat last winter with his wife, Kerrie.
This year, the participants in one of the winter’s Couples Retreats skied with the 6th grade class from the Aspen Country Day School (pictured above). As part of the of the students’ curriculum, they learned about World War I veterans with PTSD and were inspired to delve deeper into their own local veteran community and associated organizations. The children discovered CAMO and wanted to spend time with the disabled veterans who were involved. This resulted in a day at Buttermilk where both disabled vets and young students had the opportunity to ski together and learn more about each other in the process.