Aspen, CO, Feb 28--Pulling inverted flips isn't just for hardcore, new-schoolers with a lot of guts. In fact, it isn't just for new-schoolers at all. Aspen ski instructor Tommy Waltner was pulling front somersaults on skis in 1965 when he was fifteen. This past weekend, Feb. 26-28, at the age of fifty, Waltner set a record by hucking flips at the base of Aspen Mountain to raise money at his charity fundraiser for Lupus.
"Like most people, I had no idea what Lupus was when my mother-in-law was first diagnosed," explained Waltner. "The more I've learned about this disease the more I have realized how little is being done for these people and the need for an awareness campaign. So, Loops for Lupus was born."
Founded by Waltner, Loops for Lupus, Inc. is a non-profit organization set up to raise awareness and research funds for the disease. Waltner holds several fundraising events throughout the ski season in attempt to raise money for Lupus research.
The record-setting weekend kicked off on Saturday Feb. 26, when Waltner performed his front somersault loops at the base of Aspen Mountain. Like the typical Aspen fundraiser, the weekend was a gala event filled with apres-ski parties, gourmet dinners, rocking music, and even a silent auction.
On Monday afternoon Feb. 28, Waltner performed his loops once again for his 50th birthday, becoming the youngest and oldest person ever to perform the maneuver publicly. Officials at the Guinness Book of World Records told Waltner that they were going to create a category to accommodate his feat. The weekend ended with an all-out birthday bash at the Aspen Club Lodge Bar.
"Our goal for the weekend was to raise public awareness of this disease," added Waltner. "Thousands of people suffer from Lupus, but, still Lupus research gets little to no funding. My goal is to get some government funding for Lupus."
For more information about Loops for Lupus, or to make a donation visit their website at http://loopsforlupus.org/.