What would normally be considered a powder day in the Sierra was experienced by more than 100 skiers at Squaw Valley USA using ski and snowboard equipment developed in the 1980s -- all in the name of philanthropy.
The second annual Mothership Classic was hosted by Arcade Belt Co. on Squaw's KT22 chairlift. Participants skied in old gear and raised money for the High Fives Foundation, a nonprofit group in Truckee that gives grants to athletes recovering from major injuries.
The concept of the “First to Last Chair Fundraiser,” is like a skier version of a Relay for Life. Participants spent the day lapping KT22 as many times as possible with friends, all wearing one-piece snow suites, old goggles, really strait skis and other throwback gear. The event was attended by Jamaican Ski Team member Errol Kerr and the most decorated male American Downhill and Super G skier in history, Darron Rahvles.
Prior to the event, participants were encouraged to get pledges and donations. All funds raised go directly to the High Fives Foundation and their efforts to support athletes that have suffered life-altering injuries.
“People who live and work here fund-raise what they can, and it's so impressive the amount of impact everyone can make together,” said Tristan Queen, co-founder of Arcade Belt Co. “Friends sponsoring friends for $.25 a lap is really what this event was founded on. The original recipe was pretty simple, and we haven’t changed it much over the years. Helping others who have suffered lifer-altering injuries by spending a full day on KT chasing your friends around is about as good as it gets.”
Awards were held after the event at Fireside Pizza Co in Squaw Valley to recognize the most spirit and the top fundraisers of the event.
“This event has catalyzed other ski-athon type events across the country that have raised nearly $1 million for the foundation since 2009”, said Roy Tuscany, founder of the High Fives Foundation. “But this event is where it all started. Our community really comes together to support athletes in recovery.”