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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Partnership Between Bogner and SkiDUCK

November 4, 2010

I am excited to pass on the good word that Bogner of America has become the official clothing sponsor of one nonprofit that I am a big supporter of…SkiDUCK.

Bogner establishes, “As one of the best known global lifestyle brands, Bogner has been the world’s leading company of high quality and luxurious ski fashion for more than 75 years. Since the founding days of the company, the Bogner family’s philosophy has always been centered in respect for people and nature as well as the desire to share their passion for sports.

Therefore it is only natural that Bogner has been the official outfitter of the German Winter Olympics Team since 1936. For over 25 years Bogner has been involved in establishing and maintaining the “Textile Clothing Dialog” in Germany which focuses on environmentally friendly and sustainable production.

Now Bogner of America is proud to become the official clothing sponsor of SkiDUCK, a new national non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled and underprivileged children by sharing the joys of skiing, snowboarding, and nature. Through partnering with SkiDUCK, Bogner of America hopes to help spread the passion for sports to children in need.

SkiDUCK works closely with non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Children’s Cancer Foundation to provide underprivileged and at-risk children access to the mountains. Being entirely volunteer based 100% of any contributions made to SkiDUCK go directly towards developing programs and putting kids on the slopes.

Since February 2009, only 2 ½ months after the start of the program, SkiDUCK has taken over 120 children to the slopes and enriched their lives with a new-found passion for skiing and snowboarding. SkiDUCK has even higher hopes for the upcoming seasons and BOGNER will be right with them providing support as the Official Clothing Sponsor and also as a family with desire and willingness to help children in need to get access to nature and sports.”


Mountain Rider’s Alliance: A Grassroots Movement Changing The Way Ski Areas Are Run

September 10, 2010

A new paradigm is emerging in ski area management: one that’s globally-based, rider-centric, environmentally sustainable, sensitive to local needs, and skier-and-snowboarder-owned

Truckee, California – September 9, 2010 – Rising lift ticket costs, negative impacts on ski communities and the environment, and the desire to combat climate change have all led concerned skiers and snowboarders to form a global collaborative group, Mountain Rider’s Alliance (MRA).

MRA is a movement of snow enthusiasts who are dedicated to changing the ways ski areas are run. MRA’s mission is to create rider-owned-and-operated ski areas that are rider-centric, environmentally sustainable and sensitive to local cultural, social and economic concerns.

All MRA business decisions will be based on three principles. The first principle is operating and developing value-based, rider-centric ski areas that put skier and snowboarder needs and wants first. Secondly, all MRA projects will be environmentally sustainable by creating “ski-energy centers” that strive towards a zero carbon footprint by producing and selling alternative energy to local utilities as well as utilizing the best in green practices. The third element is to be socially responsible to the communities surrounding these mountain playgrounds.

To raise awareness about this new ideological shift in managing ski areas, Mountain Rider’s Alliance has launched a website, www.MountainRidersAlliance.com, and blog, www.MRABlog.com. MRA also has a Facebook Fan Page, and Twitter account, MtnRA.

As MRA identifies potential locations and develops a master plan, the Alliance will offer reasonably-priced investment shares to the global ski community to create true rider-owned resorts who will exercise their ownership rights for the long-term advancement of the sport and not short-term profit. MRA expects to announce the location of the first ski-energy project in December 2010.

Mountain Rider’s Alliance was founded in 2010 as a LLC, incorporated in Wyoming. MRA has established partnerships with like-minded nonprofit organizations including Protect Our Winters, SkiDUCK, Sustenator and Peace Pedalers.

For more information, visit the MRA website, or blog, or contact Mountain Rider’s Alliance directly at info@MountainRidersAlliance.com.


Support the Environment by Speaking Up to Your Senator

June 8, 2010

The next couple of weeks are going to be a critical time for climate change in Washington.

Here is a quick update on some of the key events:

MURKOWSKI RESOLUTION
This Thursday is the first key test of US resolve on climate. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will introduce a “resolution of disapproval” that would undercut the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution. If passed, the resolution basically says that carbon emissions aren’t dangerous and could sub-vent the EPA’s ability to hold accountable the largest carbon polluters down the road.

The general consensus is that the resolution won’t pass, and it most certainly won’t get through the House, but surprisingly, the vote has become a bellwether for the climate bill’s chances by showcasing which Senators are in favor of strong climate change policy and which aren’t.

A victory for Murkowski here could spell danger for a more comprehensive bill later on. The resolution needs 51 votes, to pass. If it breaks 45 votes, it’s trouble. If it breaks 50, it’s doom.

SENATOR REID TIMING
Also this week, Senator Harry Reid is polling other Democratic Senators about whether they want to move ahead with a climate bill this year. Obviously, with everything that’s happening the Gulf, its clearly evident that dependence on oil is a failed strategy and the longer that this discussion waits to take place, the more it risks never happening. It is up to us to tell our Senators to tell Sen. Reid “yes” on a climate bill this year.

The current bill, the American Power Act, was introduced by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman on May 12th. In short, the bill aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and then cut them by 80% by 2050. It would set limits beyond which polluters would have the option of trading credits or paying penalties within a fixed price range. Here are the details of the bill.

There are rumors about other bills currently being developed, but nothing concrete just yet.
Our main goal right now, is to make sure the debate begins this year.

THE FENCE SITTERS
Here is a list of Senators who, as far as we can tell, are still yet undecided about supporting clean energy. We need a total of 60 votes. Since 37 Senators have already indicated that they are planning to support strong climate change policy, we need 23 of these fence-sitting Senators to vote “yes” to pass climate legislation in the Senate.

Lamar Alexander (Tenn.)
Max Baucus (Mont.)
Mark Begich (Alaska)
Scott Brown (Mass.)
Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
Robert Byrd (W.Va.)
Maria Cantwell (Wash.)
Susan Collins (Maine)
Kent Conrad (N.D.)
Bob Corker (Tenn.)
Byron Dorgan (N.D.)
Lindsey Graham (S.C.)
Judd Gregg (N.H.)
Mary Landrieu (La.)
Frank Lautenberg (N.J.)
George LeMieux (Fla.)
Carl Levin (Mich.)
Richard Lugar (Ind.)
Claire McCaskill (Mo.)
Robert Menendez (N.J.)
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Ben Nelson (Neb.)
Bill Nelson (Fla.)
Mark Pryor (Ark.)
Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.)
Olympia Snowe (Maine)
Arlen Specter (Pa.)
Debbie Stabenow (Mich.)
Jon Tester (Mont.)
George Voinovich (Ohio)
Jim Webb (Va)

So, it’s go-time. Please send a letter to your Senators today, especially if they are on the list above. The time to do this is absolutely right now.

This is our moment to be be heard, and an opportunity to influence policy to protect something close to us for today, and for generations behind us.

Please click here to see where your Senators stands on the issue and to easily send a letter to them urging their support: www.60DAYSTO.org


Easy Way to Work Together and Help SkiDUCK

January 27, 2010

I recently had a great interview with SkiDUCK (Skiing and snowboarding for Disabled and Underprivileged Children and older Kids), a newly formed non-profit organized to help children in unique and expanding ways through playing in the mountains.

As any non-profit knows, finding the money needed is an ongoing job and involves interesting ways of collaborating. Whether it’s exposure, communication equipment or supplies, support is vital. For SkiDUCK this is no different.

In response to their need for efficient technology they have entered a contest to win a Windows 7 Desktop. The competition involves a little video they posted on YouTube. The decision on which organization wins the computer system prize is based on the amount of times the video is viewed, as well as its rating.

So, if you believe that all children should get a chance to play on glistening, cold snow in the mountains, than help SkiDUCK win. Watch the two minute video and then click on the star rating system below the video on the left hand side. Each click counts!

On behalf of the kids and SkiDUCK, thank you!


Children Getting the Benefit of Collaboration through SkiDUCK

December 30, 2009

Skiing and snowboarding aren’t the types of sports that anyone can just do.

Unfortunately, the truth exists that some sort of financial backing has to exist to play in the mountains. Not only does the equipment cost money, but so does getting to the ski area and getting up the hill.

As a youngster, my family didn’t have the money needed to fulfill my addiction to gravity induced fun on snow. My solution worked out for me, literally, as I began my career working for a ski area at 12 years old. What began as a position in retail shifted to becoming a ski instructor, then to working on the avalanche crew and so on and so forth…the fuel for my lifelong passion for skiing.

Well, fast forward to today and there is a non-profit organized to give underprivileged children the chance to benefit from a sport that has proven to help many youngsters find a path to happiness. Myself included.

SkiDUCK, or Skiing and snowboarding for Disabled and Underprivileged Children and older Kids, is a newly formed outreach helping youth experience the fun of being in the mountains. A true effort of collaboration, SkiDUCK is an example that cooperation can lead to greatness.

I was able to sit down and talk with the executive director of SkiDUCK, Clint Lunde. His insight, experience and foresight for collaboration is inspiring, to say the least. Here is what he had to say…

EoC: Please tell our readers what exactly SkiDUCK is…

CL: SkiDUCK is a national volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of disabled and underprivileged children by sharing the joys of skiing and snowboarding.

We partner with local organizations with similar goals of serving disabled or underprivileged children. In areas where like programs exist, we work to assist these groups fulfill their goals by providing additional funding, coordinating with other providers, and sharing best-practices.

In areas where the skiing and snowboarding needs of disabled or underprivileged children are not currently being served, we seek to establish a sustainable model of service with local resources and volunteers.

EoC: What initially made you contemplate creating something like SkiDUCK?

CL: In the few short months since SkiDUCK launched, I’ve been asked dozens of times… “How did you come up with the idea of providing skiing and snowboarding for disadvantaged children?”

Without getting too personal, there are times in most of our lives when we face some really big questions. The past year has been one of deep reflection for me, and some of the questions I kept asking of myself were: What is my purpose? – How can I make more of a difference? – How can I better use my passion and skills for a greater good? – If money weren’t an issue, what would I be doing? – And, rather than focusing on a job or career, how can I turn my passion into a life-long vocation?

These questions and period of self-reflection can be a tremendous opportunity for anyone to discover new directions. In retrospect, I can’t believe the idea of creating SkiDUCK didn’t occur immediately! The concept of a national organization dedicated to providing opportunities for children to experience the joys of skiing and snowboarding is such an obvious and natural fit! (And in my honest opinion, a WONDERFUL CAUSE!)

Since August 12th we’ve recruited a high-quality Board of Directors, filed as a legal entity, applied for and received our 501(c)3 non-profit status from the IRS (which alone often takes 9+ months), created a fun and interactive website and social network, partnered with some of the top athletes in the industry (more on the way!), and most importantly… have established initial partnerships with ski resorts and youth service organizations to put children on the slopes for their first time ever!

In early 2010 we’ll begin to see the fruits of our labor as we kick off our first on-slope programs in the Lake Tahoe area! The success of those programs and others around the country will depend entirely upon the wonderful volunteers who come forward with their time, enthusiasm and talents – and the generous donors and sponsors who help provide opportunities for deserving children.

EoC: Explain the motivation of going from the dream stage of Ski Duck to the activation stage…

CL: The motivation was (simply-put) immediate once I made the decision on Aug 12th…primarily in order to get things in place for the upcoming ski/snowboard season.

EoC: How has collaboration been incorporated into the creation of SkiDUCK?

CL: The success of SkiDUCK if based upon the foundation of collaboration among three key groups; participating ski resorts, youth service organizations, and financial sponsors.

Collaboration with these organizations is fundamental to the existence and future success of SkiDUCK! SkiDUCK and our volunteers are primarily “facilitators” who are connecting existing organizations to assist each in doing what they do best. Our partnering ski resorts have ski and snowboard schools that are already teaching children the wonderful sports of skiing and snowboarding. SkiDUCK is bringing a whole new group of children to their programs, who may never otherwise have the opportunity to visit the mountains. Our partnering youth service organizations (such as the Boys and Girls Clubs) are already serving financially underprivileged and at-risk children in many ways, but lack the financial resources to provide skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Through these collaborative partnerships, SkiDUCK brings the best of both worlds together!

Finally, collaboration with our growing list sponsors and individual donors is absolutely critical to providing the financial resources to make the programs work. Like a tripod, each of the three legs of the SkiDUCK collaborative model are essential for stability and long-term success.

EoC: What is your vision for the future?

CL: As focused as we are on building partnerships and a successful model for SkiDUCK, all of our efforts are really about the kids. It takes a tremendous amount of time, effort and energy to launch a new organization, but the rewards of those efforts are immediately received in the smiles, laughter and joy of children learning to ski or snowboard for the first time. I’ve (we’ve) taught many children to ski over the years, and almost nothing compares to a child’s first day on the slopes or the first time off a small jump! SkiDUCK will open an entirely new world to children who deserve the opportunity that many of us enjoy every winter!

We’re serving school-aged children (from around age 7 to 18). Our hope is that once a child is in the program, they’ll fall in love with skiing or snowboarding and want to continue each year until they graduate from high school. After that, they’ll just have to get a job as a ski or snowboard instructor or ski patrol if they want to continue to receive free passes! (But hey, those are first jobs many of us wish we could have gotten!)

While our primary focus is a simple one, to introduce children to the joys of skiing and snowboarding, I’m absolutely certain that the impact we’ll have in many children’s lives will be much more significant and long-lasting; even life-changing. The mountains, the sport, and the good people these children will interact with have the ability to change lives in tremendous ways.

I’m a realist by nature, and recognize that I may be wearing rose-colored glasses at times when looking to the future of SkiDUCK. But in my minds-eye, I foresee programs either founded or partially funded by SkiDUCK at literally hundreds and hundreds of ski resorts across the entire country, serving tens of thousands of underprivileged and minority children every year!

I envision a national network of local community chapters providing opportunities to children who may never otherwise be exposed to the beauty and life-changing force of the mountains. Eventually, we’ll grow beyond U.S. borders to other mountain countries around the world. (It will be interesting to see how the SkiDUCK acronym will translate into other languages!)

And I’m absolutely certain that someday a child who first stepped into bindings through a SkiDUCK program will also step onto an Olympic, World Cup, or X Games Gold medal podium!

But setting all the grand designs aside, the truest measure of SkiDUCK’s success will be years from now when someone who first fell in love with skiing or snowboarding through SkiDUCK takes their own son or daughter to the mountain for their first day on the slopes. That’s the dream that always brings a tear to my eye.

Please contact SkiDUCK if your organization or community is interested in partnering to establish or enhance your own program to help children onto the slopes!


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