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.”