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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High Fives Sponsored Athlete Grant Korgan in the Mountains Again After 7 Months of Healing

November 23, 2010

A little inspiration…


Mountain Rider’s Alliance Gaining Momentum with ESPN Article

November 8, 2010

A collaborative movement for positivity in the ski industry, Mountain Rider’s Alliance (MRA) is gaining traction and moving forward in creating a viable product.

Sparking the interest of ESPN editors, MRA was featured in an interesting article, “Dreaming of a New Ski Area.” As quoted by author Devon O’Neil in the onset of the piece, co-founder Jamie Schectman is thinking big, “I want to partner with the United Nations. I want to have a family that’s currently in Afghanistan come to one of our ski areas and see how we’re running things and then go back to Afghanistan and start one of their own [ski areas] in collaboration with us. How’s that for ambitious?”

Well, in my humble opinion it may be ambitious, but it is also thinking positively…something that may just be a little lacking in our current state of world affairs. We need collaboration that is based on forward-thinking ideologies of peace and that all deserve a great life.

Not to mention that now is the time for us all to work together for a common good. Maybe skiers and snowboarders will help show us the way?


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.


Pro Photographer Josh Campbell Organizes Auction for Protect Our Winters

July 26, 2010

As a supporter of environmental awareness and the amazing feeling of gravity-induced fun on skis, I am super excited to announce Art For POW. Pro photographer and Protect Our Winters supporter, Josh Campbell, organized the online art auction, with all of the proceeds being donated to Mother Nature’s-proponent-in-the-form-of-a-non-profit, Protect Our Winters.

Amazing work from artists such as: Trevor Graves, Tim Zimmerman, Aaron Draplin, Tyler Stout, Cole Barash, Mark Kohlman, Mike Paddock, Shawn Dumont, Shem Roose, Kari Rowe, Patrick Lennox Wright, Dennis Healy X R1, Timothy Karpinski, Danny Zapalac, Bud Fawcett, Dean “Blotto” Gray, Andrew Mutty, Adam Moran, Mike Arzt, Mike Basher, and Josh Campbell.

“I created ART for POW as an opportunity for artists in the snowboard community to give back to the earth and the sport that has brought us so much fun over the years,” said Josh. Every item in the auction has been donated, and all proceeds will go directly to Protect Our Winters.

The auction runs from today until 11:59 p.m. PST on July 31st. Click HERE to check it out, and please spread the word.







Protect Our Winters Expanding into Argentina to Assist Earth Friendly Projects

July 6, 2010

For pro snowboarder Jeremy Jones, his mission of helping Mother Nature began on the slopes outside of Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

Returning to his favorite place to ride sweet powder, he found it void of snow. Rock and grass was all that was visible where it should of been feet of compacted frozen water crystals.

He took it upon himself to dive more into the sad state of affairs he was witnessing and found that this great riding spot was continuing on a trend of less and less snow.

So, in inspirational form that is a personality trait of Jones, he took this experience and formed Protect Our Winters, a non-profit created to unite those that love snowboarding and skiing, so that the collective genius can help promote a healthy, sustainable future for our environment.

With the initial goal of assisting the environmental actions of North America and Europe, POW  is now going global with expansion into Argentina, as well as Australia.

I am honored to be a part of the newly formed Southern Hemisphere POW satellite team, and will be assisting the non-profit in both the Bariloche and Las Leñas areas.

7,000 vertical feet of Argentine wind, Las Leñas Valley

What does that mean exactly?

Well, POW is ready to help fund interesting projects in Argentina that help the environment.

If you or someone you know is involved with an Argentine environmental-friendly project that is in the making and needs a little financial assistance, please let me know and I will pass the information on to POW. Maybe a neighborhood that is trying to create a recycling plan…or a group that is doing litter education. If the movement assists Pachamama, than POW would like to help out.

To give you a little background, in North America POW created various ways to invigorate discussion about environmental protection. From an easy-access platform inspiring interaction between large non-profit foundations and the masses to education programs like Solar 4R Schools, POW is truly creating a global path for change.

Awhile back, I was able to sit down and talk with Jones about how POW is participating in expanding environmental awareness, the non-profits’ hopes on affecting the future, and his personal feelings on the issue of global warming.

Continue on for thoughts from the pro himself…

Jeremy Jones enjoying life, photo courtesy of Jeremy Jones

SM: Thanks so much for making the time.

JJ: No problem.

SM: When and why did you initially create POW?

JJ: It’s kind of a combination of things…I was expanding a product line called the Jones Experience, that has about a twenty different products in it and I wanted to give a percentage of sales back to the environment. I did some research and I talked to a friend at the surf rider’s foundation. I couldn’t really find what I felt was the right environmental foundation to give the money to and my friends and surfers were like you guys need something in the winter sports world to inspire and hopefully rally companies and other participants to help the environment.

That wasn’t the answer I was looking for. I wanted to write a check and be done with it, but after a couple of months I decided that this was something that’s important and something that needs to be done.

And I think probably the birth of my daughter had something to do with that as well with the belief that it is a long term problem, it’s something were we won’t see the benifits of our actions but our kids and our kid’s kids will see the benefit of our actions.

SM: There is nothing out there for the winter community?

JJ: I wanted something where every dollar raised went straight to slowing down global warming. There was good carbon offset companies and 1 percent for the planet, who we partner with now, but it kept coming back to us needing something that was targeting people…something that made people and companies go “I want to be associated with that foundation.” Other foundations out there didn’t have the same connection as we hope to have with POW. We work closely with these foundations that are established and they do an awesome job, it’s just that we are coming from a, as crazy as it sounds, a different marketing level.

And also what we do is focus, and we hope to do more of this, on cleaning up our mountains and our mountain towns, first. That is what we want to put focus on first.

SM: For sure, like Squaw Valley…I used to work at High Camp and it was amazing seeing what they were doing negatively to the environment?

JJ: Exactly. And we feel like we can be more affective this way and still use the great resources that are out there. We partner with a lot of these existing groups and we see where they work the best.

SM: So you basically bring all of the parts of the puzzle together?

JJ: Exactly.

SM: You have said that you saw major changes in snow at areas you were photographed riding, where did you see the biggest changes?

JJ: The most dramatic I saw was in Prince Rupert and up in Northern BC. I got to know the locals there. One day I went for a hike up at their local resort, it was mid February and it was all grass. I was talking to a skier that was 30 at the time and he said that this is where we all grew up riding and our average winter was 70 days a year and now were lucky if every couple of years we get to ski down this thing. And I was like, “Wow!” That is a lot of change in twenty years and it got me to thinking what is the next twenty years going to be like. So that was the most in-your-face-dramatic thing that I’ve seen.

photo courtesy of Jeremy Jones

SM: What are things that you have changed in your own life to help global warming?

JJ: I’ve looked closely at my own lifestyle and my life as a pro snowboarder.

One change, for instance, is I drive a forward Focus instead of a Dodge pick-up.

I don’t own a snowmobile anymore.

My house was built in the 1960’s, so I continue to change out into better windows and better appliances and better insulation, things like that, and that, actually, is an ongoing thing with my house. (laughter) It is still a summer cabin. It’s frustrating at times but I continue to try to get better with that.

And, fortunately, I live two miles from town so I’m riding my bike a ton in the summer because I’ve realized a lot of my trips are two mile trips so just trying to do those shorter trips on my bike.

And everything from house-hold products and that full gamut.

Those other changes were pretty easy. I continue now to make further changes…though these next changes will be harder steps, in the sense of we’re not on solar and or anything like that.

As a professional snowboarder…that’s been a harder deal. I am still doing a lot of flying, a lot of air travel. Using helicopters for access in Alaska…but I have eliminated my snowmobile use. I’m still traveling a lot, but like this year my shortest trip is two weeks long. Now that I know where I am going to be for the winter I have been able to cut down on my air travel.

One of the things that we are doing through POW is movies centered on hiking for turns. Our first film was called “My Own Two Feet”. It’s a movie based out of the Sierras. It’s a human powered snowboard movie and something that I put a lot of time and energy into because I feel that it is a great message, not only environmentally, but also as a great way to hopefully inspire people that great freeriding is only a short hike away. And if you want it, you can do it.

I have had movie parts in the past that are 70 or 80 percent hiking accessed but we never talked about that, so now people look at me and say, “…yeah right, if I had this huge heli budget I could do that too.”

In the past it is true that sometimes my three week time in Alaska wipes out the footy of us hiking around in the Sierras and Tetons. That’s something I want to change.

So doing stuff like that. I hope to do a lot more of that in the future.

I’m starting to find cameramen that are into going that extra mile and doing more foot-access stuff, but that’s not all happening over night.

But I’m starting to see change.

An example of that is this one film company that I am working with, Absence Films. I told them that I want to go and set up camp in Alaska and do, like, a three week trip where we hike in. I said that I feel that we could get some good stuff and in the fall they were saying “There is no way we can do that, that sounds gnarley.” And then I got a call from them and they said “Hey we want to do that and our riders are stoked to do something like that.”

photo courtesy of Jeremy Jones

I’m not going to walk away from Alaska and heli-accessed stuff, but this is something where I want to continue doing more and more of foot accessed stuff in Alaska. I would like to start splitting the time. I would like to put a portion of the time in to a long hiking trip, ’cause what I actually really enjoy is hiking what I ride.

That, to be honest, is the inspiration behind all of that, enjoying it from a personal level, and then of course it’s more environmentally friendly, but it is not like I’m out there saying “God I wish I was out here in a heli.” It’s more like “This is so sick and I’ve only gotten one run in today and I don’t care. It was a sick run.”

I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to start doing more hiking, that that would be the next phase of my snowboarding. And now I’m starting to activate that phase.

SM: What is the biggest way that we can help shift global warming, as a winter sport community?

JJ: I think that are a lot of simple steps that we have pushed, the ten simple steps, and they don’t seem like much. They’re everything from carpooling to changing the kind of light bulbs you are using. Basic stuff. It’s the idea that if everyone does that, then it makes a big difference.

If everyone curbs their carbon foot print by ten percent it is a big difference.

We’re not trying to get people to stop living their lives but just adapt. So there are the simple steps and then there are the other factors that I believe in: consumers have a lot of power, and when it is time to choose a new pair of skis or snowboard, it’s important to support those companies that are trying to do things differently. That can hopefully change the way that everything is made and manufactured.

SM: The Solar 4R Schools is a great program. How are the students reacting to this program?

JJ: Well, it’s a long process. We have three that are going in this summer. So unfortunately I have had little interaction. I got inspired because I went back to my high school, in Sugarloaf Maine, and did an environmental studies course with them so I have had some interaction with kids but specific set-ups we have put in, and I’m looking forward to, getting those up and visiting those classes.

SM: What would you like to say to the nay-sayers that believe that Global Warming is unsubstantiated?

JJ: Well, I don’t have the magic potion, if they don’t believe it, if all of the world-wide media attention hasn’t been able to cross them over, than I don’t think that I have the power to cross them over.

But I would say that it sure is a risky statement to say that it doesn’t matter, it’s not real, were not going to do anything about it. If they are wrong the results are pretty drastic where they should at least still be doing things environmentally friendly, whether you believe in Global Warming or not. It just makes sense.

I deal with the people that are nay-sayers and we have some great debates. But I always come back to, “How is getting sixty miles to the gallon bad?” How can you not embrace that? Or something like being off the grid with solar energy. They will always be out there. All of these environmental practices, a lot of them I should say, at least the technologies, are great whoever you are.

SM: Rossignol’s Evergreen Alliance program focuses on reducing their carbon footprint and conducting business in a more environmentally-friendly manner…their initiatives stretch across their company, retail partners and end-consumers and also influence their products is a great initiative. Do they plan on making any changes in the way boards and skis are made, being that there is a lot of plastic involved in making the snow tools?

JJ: Yeah. I’ve been working closely with Rossignol on that front and we have been able to make some quick, easy steps, like with recycled bases and were working on reclaim-sidewalls, trying to do bamboo topsheets. Those things have come pretty easy and this next step is going to take a lot more in the terms of investment to solve bigger issues with the product. So they are for sure and they are starting to and one thing I am trying to to do is…well, you see the ski world had kind of been in their own world and the snowboard in theirs…so I’m trying to get all the product managers together to pool our resources and, hopefully, bring out some real advances in environmentally friendly products.

The time tables for these are slow, it is easy to get frustrated but the fact that we are having these talks…if you look at it from a longer time line, then I do think we will have some great success.

SM: So snowboarder and ski companies are not necessarily working together for this cause, then?

JJ: No, they are separated. That is something that we hope to do with POW is create an environment where people can share environmental practices and that’s part of our phase two with POW.

SM: Is one being more receptive than the other?

JJ: No, well, we have had a little bit more success with the snowboard side but that, I think, is partly because I am in that world. But what communication we have had with the ski companies has been positive.

SM: That’s good because it doesn’t matter what the tool is.

JJ: Right.

SM: Snowmobiling is a definite addition to emissions. What are ways that snowmobilers can make a difference?

JJ: Primarily, it comes down to when you’re getting a new snowmobile, get a four stroke. There is a great difference between a four stroke and a two stroke emission. But other than that I would say that using the cleaner oils out there.

I’m not up on it now but there are oils and such out there that help keep emissions down, such as Blue Ribbon Oil or doing things like better air filters, things like that.

But for me, it wasn’t like I loved snowmobiling. When I was out there I just wanted to get to the boot pack as quickly as possible and get off the thing. It wasn’t like I gave up snowmobiling for the environment. Getting rid of my snowmobile, it was amazing how happy it made me. It was mainly because it was the last time I had to start the thing. (Laughter)

I wasn’t planning on it but I ended up having to start it up one last time and I like literally welled-up with tears thinking “Thank God its gone.” But that is totally from a personal level. I would always dread when I would get the call that we going out on the snowmobiles I would think “Uuuuh, I’ve got to go load my sled.”

SM: Where do you see POW going in the future?

JJ: Hopefully we will have a ton of manufacturers involved and a bunch of snowboarders and skiers as members. And hopefully, as we grow, we will become more powerful and be able to do greater things for the environment. Within the foundation, we continue to explore different options to better spend our finances and be a better help to the winter sports world on all levels.


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