This past weekend I headed out to Alpine Meadows California to judge Trains 2011, a unique contest created by the High Fives Foundation. This contest is unique in that there are multiple different categories in which people can succeed and the main emphasis is on a team format in which the team with the best "train" (where athletes ski in tight succession through the course) gives away the grand prize. No, it wasn't a typo. The "winners" go home with PRIDE alone, as the actual prize money is donated to charity on behalf of the athletes. This event is skiing and snowboarding's way of giving back.
Julian and I got a call, really an email, from Roy Tuscany (President and Co-Founder of the High Fives Foundation) asking us to be guest judges for Trains 2011. YES! Was the immediate answer and once we confirmed that we timing was impeccable, we confirmed. It was great to be on the other side of the judges booth this time. I got to enjoy the vibe, get a little tan, and be entertained by all the skiing and snowboarding that was going on- STRESS FREE! Not to mention, this was a Volkl sponsored event and the team had a sunset photo shoot after the contest was over with cameras mounted on a remote controlled helicopter! Epic! (See photos).
The best part of the event was that it was supporting a great cause. The High Fives Foundation is incredible. Founded only last year, High Fives aims to raise money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. Being around such courageous individuals provided incredible perspective. Life is what you make it. When you stay positive through the downs, things will turn around. As long as you are breathing you can enjoy the offerings of this life. It made me so appreciative of my current situation, that I am still standing, slowed down, but still walking.
Results: Top Male: Parker White (chosen charity: $500 to the Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports Foundation) Top Female: Grete Eliassen (chosen charity: $500 to the NeuroRecovery Network) Best High Five: Grey Team: Davis Souza, Austin Simonpietri, Sean Collin, Andy McDowell, and Peter Kukesh (chosen charity: $500 to the Alpine Meadows Ski Foundation) Best Trick: Backside 1080° double cork by Brandon Reis (chosen charity: $500 to Ski D.U.C.K.) Best Train/Team: Grey Team: Davis Souza, Austin Simonpietri, Sean Collin, Andy McDowell, and Peter Kukesh (chosen charity: $500 to the Shane McConkey Foundation)