Wounded soldiers skiing at Breckenridge | VailDaily.com

Wounded soldiers skiing at Breckenridge

Nicole Formosa

BRECKENRIDGE – Christian Bagge re-learned to walk less than a month ago, after losing both legs while fighting in Iraq, but that hasn’t cracked his confidence in learning to ski this week in Breckenridge.”I think it’s going to be a blast,” Bagge said from his home in San Antonio, Texas. “I’m not intimidated that I’ve only been walking for three weeks. I lot of people limit themselves because of injuries – I think the only limitation we have is ourselves.”Bagge, 23, was six months into his overseas tour of duty with the National Guard when, on June 28, 2004, his platoon was ambushed. There were two large explosions. The attack left him with injuries so severe that one leg had to be amputated above the knee and the other below the knee. A large laceration caused nerve damage in his left arm.Bagge is one of 75 soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan who will participate this week in The Hartford Ski Spectacular at Breckenridge Ski Resort. The soldiers and their families will join more than 600 others with disabilities at the event, which runs through Sunday.Members of the U.S. Paralympic Team will pass on knowledge about ski racing to the group, as well as encouragement on living an active, productive life with a disability.Bagge, now a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, is not a foreigner to snow sports. He snowboarded in his home state of Oregon for five years before his injury, and spent one season as a snowboard instructor for the Special Olympics.Sergeant First Class Norberto Lara, 33, said he was never interested in sports before he lost his right arm when a rocket propelled grenade tore through his vehicle more than a year ago during a combat patrol in Iraq.While Lara, a former military policeman, is still a patient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., he has been busy rock climbing, snowboarding, skiing and whitewater rafting – all sports he had never experimented with before coming home from the war.”It’s been really just amazing to experience all this other stuff I had no idea I could do,” Lara said during a telephone interview. Vail, Colorado

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