By Matt Kroschel

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– Hundreds of disabled athletes are enjoying the fresh snow this week as part of the 31st annual “The Hartford Ski Spectacular” in Breckenridge. More than 800 participants, ranging in ability from first-time skiers to members of the U.S. Paralympic Team, are kicking off the winter season.

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The Hartford Ski Spectacular offers instruction and competitions that teach beginners and train athletes for national and international competitions. Paralympians Mike Schultz and Noah Elliott, who medaled for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, are among the participants.

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Also participating will be more than 100 wounded military veterans, service members, family and military medical staff from the U.S. and Great Britain. Wounded or injured service members are coming from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, San Antonio Military Medical Center, Naval Medical Center San Diego and from across the country.

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One of those wounded warriors, Landon Ranker suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008. He has found healing through sports.

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“This allowed me to truly get out and be active again for the first time since suffering my injuries,” Ranker told CBS4’s Matt Kroschel on Monday.

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Since 2003, Disabled Sports USA has served more than 13,000 severely wounded or injured veterans, service members and family members, offering nationwide programs in more than 50 different adaptive sports.

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Among participants this year will be survivors severely injured in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, including Chelsea Romo who lost one eye and suffered damage in her other eye.

“This is an amazing opportunity to have fun and learn a new sport,” she said.

LINK: VA Adaptive Sports Programs | The Hartford Ski Spectacular

Matt Kroschel covers news throughout Colorado working from the CBS4 Mountain Newsroom. Send story ideas to mrkroschel@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter @Matt_Kroschel.

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