Sauer spreads mes­sage

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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