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Local combat veterans treated to free skiing at 49 Degrees North

Local combat veterans treated to free skiing at 49 Degrees North

CHEWELAH, Wash. - Local combat veterans and their families hit the slopes at 49 Degrees North this weekend.

The idea is to make it easier for vets to return to civilian life through outdoor activities. It gives them a day to escape reality and have a fun with their fellow veterans.

"It is just perfect. This place is safe, peaceful, it's awesome, and my buddy can come out with me," Ben Brown said.

Brown and his service dog Liaka are at peace as they roam the mountain. "Me and my dog are snowboarding down, my dog runs next to me, it's serenity," Brown said.

Brown is one of 30 combat veterans who learned to ski and snowboard at 49 Degrees North on Saturday. It's sponsored by a group of firefighters from Spokane Valley and Spokane County Fire District 8. The ski resort donated the gear, lift tickets and lessons.

"Everyone who has come out has been through it, they've been through their own combat," Brown said.

For one day, their worries go away as they learn to enjoy life after war. It's a bonding experience for Michael Williams and his family.

"It's my 1st time bringing the family out there as a whole together and to have it all paid for, it feels special to us to have somebody looking out for us," Michael Williams said.

Williams might not be a pro on the mountain but it's not about being the best. It's just about being here.

"The kids are out having fun, the wife is happy, can't complain about the day at all," Williams said.