On March 21, 2006, 26-year-old JT Fielder, a charismatic, well-loved, powder-obsessed skier from Denver, hiked to the top of his favorite backcountry ski run, a 13,000-foot peak outside of Winter Park, Colorado, and took his life. His friends, shocked by Fielder’s death and by the staggering prevalence of suicide in Colorado—it’s the second leading cause of death for 15-34 year olds and the state’s suicide rate consistently ranks 40 percent higher than the national average—launched the Front Range Powder Factory. The non-profit is dedicated to “eradicating the stigma attached to depression and raising the awareness of suicide’s warning signs, risk factors, and resources available.”
FRPF’s annual calendar of stokey ski photos raises money for pre-existing mental health and suicide prevention programs. “It was a way to pay tribute to JT,” says Sarah Klingelheber, a high-school friend of Fielder’s and one of FRPF’s founders. “But we’re also excited about helping prevent other people from suffering in silence.”
FRPF’s annual fundraiser is Sunday, November 27, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Stella’s Restaurant and Bar in Denver. Stella's will donate 10 percent of their sales to FRPF and this year’s calendar will be on hand to purchase ($15 each). All of the proceeds from the calendar support local Colorado suicide prevention and mental health programs, including the Second Wind Fund the Carson J. Spencer Foundation, and the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado. You can purchase calendar online at powderfactory.com/calendar.html.