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The YES Gala
Sunday, April 17, 2011

I just arrived home yesterday from an epic week sailing around the British Virgin Islands for my mom’s 60th birthday!! Thanks Dennis for making it all happen. There is no substitute for 85 degrees and sunny this time of year.

It was a great trip, but what I really want to talk about is an event I attended the day before we flew out. The T2 Foundation, an organization that financially supports elite snow sports athletes by helping them reach their dreams, brought a few of us down to Boston to talk to a bunch of kids and take part in the first annual YES Gala. YES is Youth Enrichment Services, which is a non-profit designed to “inspire and challenge youth with physical and mental activities that foster life-long respect for self, others, and the environment.” Its main focus is taking inner city kids off the streets and onto the slope skiing or snowboarding. We met with about 40 kids that are involved in the program for an hour talking and doing a bunch of Q&A. I was pretty impressed with their questions and it was really fun to hang out with a bunch of kids that were psyched to see at least one of their heroes (Hanna Kearney, the Olympic Gold Medalist in moguls, was definitely the crowd favorite).

Hanna Kearney, Ted Ligety, Chelsea Marshall, Chris Frank, Laurenne Ross, Julia Ford, and I, thanks to T2 and YES were lucky enough to meet a bunch of great kids. It was pretty funny during the autograph session I was sitting in between Ted and Hanna. Ted brought his World Cup GS Globe from this season and Hanna brought her Olympic gold medal, while I brought my smile. When the organizers went through our list of accomplishments and I definitely had the most painful seat haha. However, for this function they were all impressed that Chris Frank and I both graduated from college before perusing skiing at the highest level.

After mingling with the kids, we attended the Gala that raising over $200,000. Although just a few days before the event they were only expecting around 125 people, over 400 showed up. This organization – just like Cochran’s Ski Area – is all about the kids and nothing else. I just love that. It’s not about the over zealous parents or the huge egos that hinder our sport, it’s about what really matters, the kids. It was just so refreshing to spend time with a group that only focuses on what matters. Good on ya YES!!!

So I got home yesterday, helped my brother put his boat in the water today, went wakeboard (which was painfully cold, ice out is probably going to happen tomorrow on Lake Winnepsaukee), and did some packing for Sweden tomorrow. Every year Jon Olsson has a video competition where two to three rides create a 5 minute edit from two weeks of footage in Are, Sweden. This year he’s combining a big air event and a dual paneled team slalom at the end of the event. Leif Haugen and I are Team TNT so it should be fun. I’ll fill you all in more after I arrive and figure out how it all works. I’m sure it’ll be pretty entertaining.

Hope all is well. w

posted by Warner at 4/17/2011 10:34:00 PM


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