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Alpine Initiatives Heads Back to Africa

Alpine Initiatives Heads Back to Africa

[ Wed, 2009-12-09 14:46 ]

The truly altruistic seek to do good outside of their own interests, to make the whole world better, not just their sliver. Witness Alpine Initiatives, a foundation led by four guys who lead lives of pretty sweet privilege: freeskiing king and Armada Skis co-founder JP Auclair (pictured, right); Olympian Chad Fleischer; and heli guides Mikey Hovey (pictured, left) and Seth Koch. They hop continents to plow pow, test skis, shoot vids; it would be easy to look at that life, say you’ve made it, sit back and crack a Pabst.

But last year they traveled to Meru, Kenya, to help build the Amani Community Home for children orphaned by AIDS. (see photos of the completed center). There are more than a million AIDS orphans in Kenya; the home, a partner project with International Peace Initiatives, allows them to live in or near their hometowns, rather than being shunted to overcrowded orphanages.

From that experience, Alpine Initiatives was born. Before Meru, Auclair says, “we were kind of naïve. We thought we were going to just be shoveling for a couple of weeks, but the last thing these projects need is more shovelers.” What they do need is resources, organization and expertise; and AI is a kind of clearinghouse for ski-world folk eager to offer it. “We’re not focused just on one cause: humanitarian or environmental,” Auclair says. “We want to keep stepping out of our comfort zone.”

Photo Courtesy of Alpine Initiatives

Freeskier heroes are heading back to Meru, Kenya, to check on the community orphanage they helped build, plan for further improvements

Remember when we told you about Alpine Initiatives? This group of big-mountain pros and bros decided their lives were too blessed and decided to share some of the good. So freeskier and Armada Skis co-founder JP Auclair, Olympian Chad Fleischer, and heli guides Mikey Hovey and Seth Koch traveled to Meru, Kenya, to partner with a group called International Peace Initiatives to help plan and build a group home for children orphaned by AIDS. Included in those plans was a garden, in which the kids could grow food and other marketable items, which could be sold to help fund the school's needs. An amazing little sustainable project -- and now the boys are headed back there. Auclair writes on the AP blog that he left for Africa yesterday in order to hit Meru before the ski season goes full swing. Goals for the trip include designing a half-court basketball court, paid for by AI sponsor Oakley, check on the progress of the gardens and the coffee fields tended by local workers, and check in with the kids: "We've been missing them a ton!" Good on you, guys; the ski world salutes your efforts.

time lapses from meru 2009 5/6: 3rd - 9th of august. from JP Auclair on Vimeo.