Sauer spreads message
ADAPTIVE alpine racer Jason Sauer has had to rebuild his life after a bad decision changed his world forever.
Sauer discovered his love of skiing at the tender age of four and has been a regular visitor to Mt Hotham since he was eightyears-old.
His passion for the sport saw him begin working at various ski resorts, but Sauer quickly ascended into the darker side of the lifestyle and in 2010 he had a drug overdose and passed out in the snow for 14 hours.
Despite many surgeries, doctors were unable to repair Sauer’s legs and in 2011 both were amputated while he was in Canada, and he said the road back was hard.
“I’m not going to lie, I spent the first year crying in my beer, but the turning point for me was after I tried bob sledding and I started hanging out with other people like me,” he said.
In January 2012, Sauer learned to mono (sit) ski with the National Ability Centre (NAC) in Park City, Utah and raced for the first time one month later and he said he returned to Australia with a determination to race.
He calls Mt Hotham home during the winter season and Sauer said the resort management board have been extremely supportive of his goals.
“They sponsor me with resort entry and also support me through posts on their Facebook page,” he said.
“While I’m at Hotham I also volunteer with Disabled Winter Sport Australia as a guide and I help new visitors with disabilities to navigate their way around the mountain.
“I completed my guide training about two years ago and I also volunteer at other resorts as well.”
Sauer is currently the highest ranked Australian Paralympic athlete in the Giant Slalom event and second highest ranked seated male in all other disciplines on the International Paralympic Committee list and he is hoping to get to North America for the upcom- ing winter season to train.
“I race in the Giant Slalom, Slalom, Super G and downhill and I’m really trying my hardest to raise enough funds to get me to Utah for the winter over there so I can train and race,” he said.
“I’ve set up a GoFundMe page and I’m hoping people will donate to help me get there.
“Unfortunately, this skiing journey has pretty much exhausted my life savings and I don’t qualify for support from the National Governing body, so I really need people to get behind me and even donate the cost of a coffee.”
Sauer also shares his story with people undergoing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol dependencies and he said he hopes hearing his story might give people the strength to quit for good.
“I made a bad decision, one I can never take back and if my story helps prevent anyone from making the same mistakes then it’s worth it,” he said.
“I’d also love to tell my story to high school students so they can hear from someone who’s been through a drug addiction.”