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Skitheworldforall Kicks Off

Skitheworldforall Kicks Off

[ Mon, 2010-07-12 12:33 ]
One woman’s mammoth ski mission starts at Mammoth.

The last day of an extra long winter for Mammoth Mountain, first day of a year-long winter for me. I’m kicking off my global skiathon to benefit disabled sports organizations around the world. I aim to increase exposure, raise awareness and funding for adaptive ski programs through my efforts. Every cent donated will go directly to the organizations, and I plan to add to the list as I travel, helping the local mountain programs wherever I go. Mammoth is the first of over 50 mountains, in as many countries, that I will ski in the course of the next year.

It is the home of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierras, one of the 100 chapters of Disabled Sports USA. I chose to start my trip here in support of this organization’s tireless work with the local disabled community as well as its participation in the Wounded Warrior initiative. DSES’ motto is “If I can do this, I can do anything.” What could be more appropriate as I embark upon this adventure? Together with disabled skiers and volunteers I was honored to take part in the town’s July 4th parade. The following morning, I took the first run of the trip with them.

Forget spring skiing, this is summer skiing. 70 degrees at 8 a.m. cerulean sky, mountain bikers outnumbering skiers in the crowded parking lot. There is precious little coverage on Broadway, more granite than snow. I make cautious first turn, expecting to stick in familiar spring Sierra cement, but no, I glide right on over those couple inches of white stuff. The secret, I am told, is salt, which the groomers spray constantly throughout these late season days. It helps lower the freezing point , keeping the snow fast..

Better conditions here in July than on many Californian mountains in April. Skiers in grass skirts, clown noses, tuxedos, pink lycra hotpants, and cowboy hats all stop by my fundraising stall on their way to the lift line. Donuts (who can resist?) and "skitheworldforall" T shirts sell well. By noon I have nothing left to sell and the mountain has little left to ski. Time to head south to where the snow is falling. Next stop: New Zealand for the Cardrona Adaptive Snowsports Festival July 25th.

Karen Skillen is embarking on a year-long global ski adventure. She will ski in every country where it is logistically possible and safe to do so, raising awareness and funding for adaptive ski programs along the way. To learn more about her mission see her website She’ll be blogging from the road.