Mountain Rider’s Alliance Presenting Project in Alaska

February 25, 2011

Mountain Rider’s Alliance to present Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project

Mountain Rider’s Alliance Project Manager, Dave Scanlan, outlined a proposal for the Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project at the Girdwood Library last night, Thursday, February 24th, 2011.  With over 50 locals in attendance, there was a question and answer session afterward, with a lot of proactive community feedback.

Manitoba Mountain is located at Mile 49 on the Seward Highway at the site of the Historic Manitoba Ski Area and the Glacier Ski Lodge that operated from 1941 to 1959. The earliest recorded history of skiing on the Kenai Peninsula was in 1790. Anchorage is located 90 minutes away and there is a population base of 325,000 within a three-hour drive. At a base elevation of 1,250 feet, this region of the Chugach Mountains receives an estimated 350-550 inches of snow annually.

Manitoba Ski Area is a MRA pilot project designed to be small on infrastructure and big on mountain. The proposed lifts are surface tows designed to give riders supreme access to and from world class high angle backcountry terrain, while at the same time providing excellent beginner, intermediate, and advanced inbounds skiing experience.

Additional plans include creating and maintaining Nordic, snow shoe, snow machine, and dogsled trail systems through the historic mining sites of the Summit Lake Recreation Corridor, helping to support the year round operation of Summit Lake Lodge.

“One of the Manitoba Mountain Ski Area Restoration Project’s primary goals is to bring economic stability to the communities of Hope, Sunrise, Moose Pass, and Cooper Landing by creating a centrally located destination to create local jobs and foster additional private sector economic activity by redeveloping the downhill, and Nordic ski opportunities in the Summit Lake Recreation Corridor,” states Project Manager Dave Scanlan.

Both wind and hydro energy creation opportunities exist in the area. The State of Alaska has set an ambitious goal to supply 50% of the state’s energy from renewables by 2025. This goal has been laid out in the new House Bill 306, passed in June 2010.

MRA is an emerging group of like-minded global ski and outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to sustainable, low impact ski centers with an emphasis on the community, environment and skiing. More information about the MRA is available at their website. MRA will be offering reasonably priced investment shares to both the local and global ski communities to help fund the revival of Manitoba Mountain.

“We have entered the preliminary stages of the permitting process and while we expect this to be a lengthy multi-year process, we are fully committed. We will be hosting many public outreach meetings to solicit the public’s comments and ideas to assist us in sculpting the best possible facility with community involvement,” said Scanlan.

Mountain Rider’s Alliance has forged partnerships with many respected organizations that share the same values. Some of these partners include Protect Our Winters, Winter Wildlands Alliance, Sustentator, High Fives and Ski Duck.

Collaboration Quote of the Week

February 22, 2011

“If people offer their help or wisdom as you go through life, accept it gratefully. You can learn much from those who have gone before you. But never be afraid or hesitant to step off the accepted path and head off in your own direction, if your heart tells you that it’s the right way for you.

Always believe that you will ultimately succeed at whatever you do, and never forget the value of persistence, discipline, and determination. You are meant to be whatever you dream of becoming.”

Edmund O’Neil

Interview with San Fransico MC Kanetic Source Showing Loving Support for his son Noah

February 15, 2011

A few weeks ago I wrote about enjoying the live rhythms of Ozomatli grooving with one of my favorite musicians, Kanetic Source. Stoked to see him on stage again — six years had passed since the last showing — joy was short lived…he was joining the jam session with Ozo to increase awareness for his incredibly-cute kid, Noah, whom recently was diagnosed with stage 3 Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

Finding out his diagnosis, the family is moving forward and bringing in the best treatment they can find for Noah. With FDA approval, Noah is skipping the horrid and sickly radiation therapy process and working, instead, with world-renowned physician and scientist, Doctor Burzynski. Located in Houston Texas, the Burzynski Clinic is a beautiful example of collaboration between a man whom dedicated his life to battling cancer and others committed to implementing all healing modalities that help the individual survive the disease.

Obviously, working with the best doesn’t erase the devastating challenge that is a day to day reality for this wonderful family.

How can we help?

Kanetic kindly took the time to chat with me about his boy, the effects of a debilitating illness, and where assistance is most needed. Here is what he had to say…

Please give us a little information about Noah…what kind of kid is he?

Noah is a very intelligent outgoing 4 year old who loves music and dancing, most especially he loves playing the drums. He has been with me on stage and in the studio since he could walk and talk. My son is just like any 4 year old except,and I’m not just saying this cause he’s my son but, he was putting full sentences together since he was two, and he plays a five piece drum set, which trips me out by the way. He is just very lovable and anyone who meets him I mean, anyone, they fall in love with him and his cheeks!!

Do you have a favorite story that exemplifies the joy that Noah has brought into your life?

He was my first born, and he was a boy!!!! That’s a fathers dream….

Can you share with us how you discovered Noah was sick?

Well, I was taking a nap in the family room and my wife was in the kitchen. I heard him calling me for help and we play like that sometimes but then the help turned into a cry for help, a cry that I had never heard before. I turned and saw he was on the floor not moving, right next to me, and so I picked him up thinking he was okay…just had a little fall jumping off the couch as most kids his age do, he said he couldn’t move his legs. So my wife came in and tried to stand him up and he fell right to the ground again and was crying more and more. We both thought he had a slight concusion because he would not let neither one of us touch his head to see if he was bleeding or what. Noah was screaming by then saying his head hurts, so we rushed to the San Jose Regional Hospital and they checked him out. The physicians said that he still walks with a little imbalance but they wanted to do a CT Scan to be sure. The Doctor came in and told us that they saw some abnormalities on his brain stem and they needed to do an MRI to see it more clearly. Once again my wife and I were terrified, because up until then our son had no symptoms of any sort no dizziness, etc., and we didn’t know what the Doctors were seeing. Then they came in and told us that our son had a fairly large size Tumor on his brain stem, which to any parent, that is the last thing you would expect to hear about your child. Noah was playing his five piece drum set the night before without any complications, a normal 4 year old. So at around midnight they informed us that he would have to be rushed to Stanford Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital because they are more advanced in this type of diagnosis. On December 28th 2010, a day after Noah’s fall the Doctors confirmed our worst nightmare that our son, Noah Chauncey Stout, has a malignant brain tumor on his brain stem that was inoperable and non-curable called DIPG ( Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). Please visit to read more on this.

The worst part of all this is when the Doctor tells you and your spouse that they have some bad news, and it’s like wow what could be worse….. well it was worse. They informed us that our son only had within 12-14 months to live! What a way to start the new year right?

Most definitely. In saying that, how has Noah being sick shifted your life?

Well, it has shifted not only my life and my wifes but it has shifted everyone who knows us and knows my son Noah’s life forever!!! I think that now we look at how much we took time for granted and all the little things that we as humans overlook. I mean just little things like eye movement and being able to smile and show joy and laughing. Some of the symptoms of this cancer are your coordination goes like eye movement and your speech goes, some kids lose the ability to even smile so they have no expression to respond to joy or pain. Thank God my son, up till now, has had none of those symptoms, and he still plays his drums and Rock Band etc.; he’s still Noah.

It was only after he had a biopsy to know exactly what this Cancer was that he had a little trouble moving his eyes to the left without moving his head…… it was at that moment my wife and I realized that it was just those types of little things that most people don’t realize are so precious and a blessing to be able to do.

How can we help?

What we really need is more media attention to raise funds for our son’s clinical trials and treatments. They are going to be very, very expensive and even though we are getting donations now, we need a lot more so that he will continue and finish the treatments and is cancer free!!!!

We need all the support we can get and every dollar adds up. One dollar or 1,000 dollars, doesn’t matter so long as it’s from the heart and the funds keep coming in. My wife works and I work as well, I am organizing with my musician brethren from all over the United States to help me put on benefits and fundraisers, but we still need to keep funds coming in outside of that. I pray that our story is heard and felt by many news stations and radio , etc. Thank you for this opportunity to let the world know about our Noah.

Thank you to the Stout family and Kanetic for taking the time to let us into your life during this ordeal. My thoughts and positive prayers are with you all.

For those that would like to help and enjoy music too, there is a benefit concert for Noah on February 24th in San Fransisco, $5.00 cover charge.

Help Exploited 1-800-Flowers Workers by Voicing Your Concern for their Rights

February 8, 2011

Valentine’s Day, which accounts for 40% of fresh flower sales annually, is fast approaching.

If you’re planning to order a bouquet from 1-800-Flowers — the world’s largest florist — you should know where most of those flowers really come from.

At flower farms in Ecuador and Colombia — the countries that export the most to the U.S. — two-thirds of the workers are women. These women are routinely subjected to harassment and even rape from their male supervisors. They suffer eye infections and miscarriages from consistent contact with dangerous pesticides.

In the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, they’re routinely forced to work 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay. Attempts to form a union are met with opposition by police and armed forces.

Many retailers — such as Whole Foods and Stop & Shop — have taken the important first step of offering Fair Trade flowers to consumers who want no part of these abuses. Fair Trade certified farms must adhere to strict standards for workers’ rights, which prevents the abuses described above.

1-800-Flowers is the largest florist in the world. Yet they offer no Fair Trade flowers at all.

Please let your voice be heard that 1-800-Flowers must join other major retailers in offering Fair Trade flowers.

1-800-Flowers uses a certifying agency called Florverde, which ensures that its flower farms measure up to certain environmental standards — this is a good thing. But Florverde has almost no labor standards: A farm can be certified even if it uses forced labor.

This is the week before Valentine’s Day — more people will purchase flowers during the next seven days than any other week this year. This is our best collective opportunity to demand a promise from 1-800-Flowers to join its competitors in offering Fair Trade flowers.

One way to get involved is to sign a petition. Please share the message widely and post on Facebook — do everything you can to pressure 1-800-Flowers to show a little respect for the women who toil in unbearable circumstances. The women without whom they’d have no flowers to sell.

And to know your voice makes a difference…since began this campaign, the company has contacted them, expressing that it will post more information on its website about the farms that supply their flowers. Obviously this is a far cry from selling fair trade products

Thanks for taking action and doing your part in ensuring employees globally are protected — especially during the most favored floral gift period of the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

SkiDUCK: A Favorite Nonprofit Helping Underprivilidged Kids Ski Free

February 1, 2011

I am certain that I am living the quality of life that I am living for one reason alone: my passion for skiing.

Coming from a middle class family, it was a sport that if I wanted to do it I would need to find a way to get up the hill, a way to buy a ticket, and a means to having good winter gear. Luckily, my parents helped on the clothing and equipment part, but the rest was up to me. To make it happen, I got a job at 12 at the local ski area and bummed rides from fellow employees or family friends that were heading to the mountain. It was a fabulous experience for me, it helped me grow as a person; learning a strong work ethic, independence, reliance on self, and above all a means to learning self-love that stopped me from being attracted to a life that would of left me in whole-lotta trouble, in jail or dead.

So when I look back upon my 33 years of skiing, I am so grateful for what the sport brought into my life. But I am sad also…because I know that there are thousands of children that could also have an access to a positive outlet, yet are left behind due to lack of cash.

It is no joke that skiing is one of the most expensive sports around, but there is a great non-profit based out of Lake Tahoe that is helping youth connect with a soul sport for free…SkiDUCK. I had an inspiring interview with founder, Clint Lunde, awhile back. Since that chat, the organization has gotten over 200 kids on the slopes.

With all certainty, SkiDUCK will positively affect the life of at least one child, making their life much better for the long term.

Here’s a video from a recent event they had at Tahoe Donner:

If you live in California and would like to get involved, SkiDUCK is always looking for volunteers, helpful funding or winter gear. For those that can share some time on the hill, SkiDUCK will give you a free lift ticket in gratitude for your collaboration in helping underprivileged children feel the wonder and stoked-ness of being out in the mountains.

Contact SkiDUCK for more information.

See ya on the hill!

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