Ski for Life departs Murray Bridge on 450km trek for mental health

About 300 people are taking part in the 2021 event for an important cause.

The Sunnysiders – Megan Watson, Georgina Sutton, Chris Klose, Jorja and Nigel Watson, Oscar Klose, Jono England and Sally Klose – prepare to set off. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Oscar Klose will spend the next three days gripping a tow rope like his life depends on it.

After all, lives depend on the cause for which he’s raising funds and awareness.

The Ski for Life, an annual event promoting mental health and suicide prevention, began on Murray Bridge’s riverfront on Friday morning.

About 300 skiers, boaties and support crew tucked into cooked breakfasts and coffees before setting off on a 450-kilometre trek to Renmark.

Among them were the Sunnysiders, one of the local teams taking part, and Oscar, who planned to ski the entire distance himself.

“Nothing’s that hard, it’s just your willingness to do it,” he said with a shrug.

“I’m willing to do it for a good cause.”

He and his teammates had raised about $1900 by the time they hit the water.

Team leader Georgina Sutton said it would be good to get out and do something physical in aid of suicide prevention, especially after a year in which so many people had experienced mental health challenges.

MPs Tony Pasin, Adrian Pederick and John Dawkins addressed the skiers before they departed, thanking them for starting conversations about wellbeing as people continued to recover from a 2020 that had been, as Mr Pasin said, “completely s---”.

“Mental wellness is really important, (but) de-stigmatising mental unwellness is the most important thing, in my view,” he said.

“What you’re doing today ... is not just raising money, not just raising spirits but also de-stigmatising questions around mental unwellness.

“Four hundred and fifty Ks in three days, I’m going to expect that’s tough, but so is living with mental illness, so thank you for doing this.”

About 3000 Australians lose their lives to suicide each year.

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