“From ads to interviews the values of snowboarders equate fun with smoking weed, drinking beer, and dropping out of school. I know this isn't true for most snowboaders out there, but then why is it so rare to read about snowboarders who are using their snowboarding in a positive way, or combining education and snowboarding? In most ads, you see white males wearing chains next to girls in binkinis.
Show me something different. Show me snowboarders who are living the dream and making a positive impact in their community instead of perpetuating the wrongful stereotypes about snowboarding.”
As self-proclaimed experts in snowboarding stereotypes we decided that Bergerler’s cry for help was a call to action. So this week we decided to find Bergerler some snowboarders who are fighting his stereotypes and making a positive impact on our sport...
(If you would prefer to see an article on Bergerler’s stereotype fear not; next week normal service will resume. We’ll be drunk and high and writing about chain-adorned white male snowboarders surrounded by bikini-clad chicks.)
Olympic gold medallist and swimsuit model Hannah Teter is a great example. It made me tired just thinking about how much this lady does for charity.
Firstly she’s involved in Hannah’s Gold. Hannah’s Gold was formed in 2008 and it supports the village of Kirindon in Kenya through a series of initiatives including building schools, providing farming equipment and supplying clean water sources. It’s funded through sales of Maple syrup and last season there was a Ben and Jerry’s ice flavour called ‘Hannah Teter’s Maple Blondie’. All of Hannah Teter’s competition prize money goes straight into this charity
She also founded the Sweet Cheeks Panties charity and 40% of the proceeds from the sales of the panties go to the Children International charity. Fellow Burton pro Gabi Viteri is also involved in promoting the charity.
Sold. No more war for me
But Hannah Teter doesn’t stop there; she also supports PETA and their ‘Save the Seals’ campaign.
Celebrity snowboarder Pamela Anderson supports the same campaign and some of the proceeds from the sales of their year’s Nidecker Pam boards will go to the charity.
PETA often crops up in the snowboarding world. We really must care about those seals. Here are some more brave girls showing their support...
Tina Basich & Shannon Dunn-Downing
In 1996 pro snowboarders Tina Basich (the “Godmother of snowboarding”) and Shannon Dunn-Downing (first women’s pro-model snowboard) along with friends Lisa Hudson and Kathleen Gasperini set-up Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC). B4BC’s mission is to increase awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection and the value of an active lifestyle.
Hannah Teter is inevitably one of the snowboarders that represents B4BC today and other team snowboarders include Tara Dakides, Barrett Christy, Elena Hight and Hana Beaman. By buying some snowboard products you can support B4BC this season and Powderroom has a guide here.
We’ve looked at Chris Klug before, back when we reviewed his excellent autobiography. As well as being an Olympic medallist, a thoroughly nice chap and a man who has suffered from an extraordinary run of medical bad luck, he’s also an extremely busy man in the charity world. After his own liver transplant Chris become a dedicated exponent of organ donation through the Chris Klug Foundation and the Donor Dudes organisation.
One of his toughest gigs was judging the recent Hooters Snow Angels competition.
The first snowboarding Olympic gold medallist set up the Ross Powers Foundation in 2001. The foundation offers assistance to promising athletes with financial needs. The foundation has aided a number of snowboarders who have gone on to have successful careers including Danny Davis. In 2010 Ross Powers set-up a new Foundation called the Level Field Fund which helps athletes in need of financial assistance. An early supporter was fellow snowboarder Seth Wescott.
Pro snowboarder, sushi chef and founder of Airblaster started the Snowdays Foundation in 2004. The foundation provides life skills through snowboarding experiences for youths in the Portland area.
In 2007 (Big Mountain) Jeremy Jones started Protect Our Winters (POW) and it is now one of the most influential non-profit organisations in snowboarding. POW focuses on activism and initiatives to help the environment. Jeremy Jones' latest video Deeper was all filmed without the use of helicopters and snow mobiles and his new snowboard brand Jones Snowboards uses environmentally friendly and sustainable materials with 1% of the cost of each snowboard going back to Protect Our Winters.
Here he is with fellow pros Wolle Nyvelt, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa and Nicolas Muller in a very earnest video.
Vegetarian superstar, Nicolas Muller is a big supporter of POW, but his charitable work doesn’t stop there. He works with Burton to promote the Green Mountain Project line of sustainable products and he offsets his carbon footprint by donating to the Atlantic Rainforest Institution. The Atlantic Rainforest Institution uses the funds to buy and protect areas of the Amazonian rainforest and Nicolas Muller is the organisation’s the biggest individual donor. The second largest donor is fellow snowboarder Tanja Frieden and snowboarding completes its sweep with the biggest business donation coming from the Roxy Chicken Jam.
Travis Rice - "I love birds"Travis Rice is another keen supporter of the environment which he supports through the Action Sports Environmental Coalition (ASEC) which promotes sustainable products in the action sports industry. He’s apparently also a very keen supporter of women; "I love birds" he was quoted as saying recently. Hang on a second...he continues; "I was a falconer for a little while." He supports the Raptor Center in Jackson Hole and The Peregrine Fund.
It’s not just professional snowboarders who get involved, here are a few more interesting people who have made a noticeable impact.
Steve Larosiliere & Sal Masekel
Keen snowboarders, ‘Stoked’ Steve Larosiliere and Sal Masekel (Host of the X Games and former receptionist at TransWorld Snowboarding magazine) founded Stoked in 1994. Stoked’s mission is to develop teens through action sports and mentoring. Here’s a good video giving some insight into what they do…
SnowRev.com founder John Centi started the Injured Riders Foundation in 2005 while he was recovering from a serious spinal injury he sustained while snowboarding. He set up the foundation to give financial assistance to other people who found themselves in a similar situation with limited or no health cover. They are raising funds this season by selling wristbands through the GnarJar site
Corporate boogieman Burton started the Chill Foundation in 1995. Chill's mission is to build the self-esteem of underserved youth through board sports and they have been doing good business because to date the Chill Foundation has given over 14,000 kids the chance to try snowboarding.
Adil Latif is a blind snowboarder from the UK who raised £14,000 in 2007 for the Pakistan earthquake victims by heliboarding down a glacier on Mont Blanc. More recently he has conquered rails. Here’s a short video of his journey.
We have probably missed a few people out. Apologies to them, but we expect they will be feeling charitable and will forgive us. Although we had always been aware of some of the charitable stuff going on in the world of snowboarding, it’s actually been quite surprising just how much there is when you look at the whole picture. Maybe Bergerler has a point.
Anyway, if all this talk of giving and hope has made you feel like donating some of your time or money to a charitable cause here is a full list of the snowboarding charities we’ve looked at plus a few others we didn’t have a chance to...
Snowboard Charity List
- Action Sports Environmental Coalition - promotes sustainable products in the action sports industry.
- Atlantic Rainforest Institution - offsetting carbon emissions
- Protect Our Winters - focuses on activism and initiatives to help the environment.
- Respect the Mountains - A European environmental charity which originated in the pancake-flat nation of the Netherlands
- Mountain Riders Alliance - It’s not a charity but it’s still worth a mention. It’s a group of skiers and snowboarders who are looking to purchase and run a ski resort in North America based on environmental priorities rather than focusing on making profits.
- Chill Foundation - Chill's mission is to build the self-esteem of underserved youth through board sports.
- Chris Klug Foundation - promoting organ donation
- Donor Dudes - promoting organ donation
- Level Field Fund - helps athletes in need of financial assistance.
- Ross Powers Foundation - offers financial assistance to promising athletes.
- Snow-Camp - A UK charity for inner-city youths
- Snowdays Foundation - supporting youths in the Portland area.
- SOS Outreach - formerly the Snowboard Outreach Society is a non-profit organisation that takes disadvantaged kids snowboarding.
- Stoked - develops teens through action sports and mentoring.
- Sweet Cheeks Panties - supports Children International.
- Boarding For Breast Cancer – a very self-explanatory charity.
- Injured Riders Foundation - provides financial assistance to people who are injured with limited or no health cover.
- Disabled Sports USA - A charity that provides opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in sports including snowboarding.
- Disability Snowsport UK - A snowsports specific organisation that enables people with disabilities to take part in snowboarding and skiing.
- Hannah’s Gold - supports the village of Kirindon in Kenya.
Some Useful Information
A growing number of snowboard businesses offer eco-friendly and sustainable product lines. Some good examples include; Mervin Manufacturing (Gnu & Lib Tech), Holden Outerwear, Arbor snowboards and Green Ski Wax. Due to work of the people and charities we’ve mentioned in the article more and more snowboard brands are starting to offer these types of products, which can only be a good thing.
Snowboard Green is a good blog dedicated to showcasing environmentally friendly and sustainable snowboarding.
Sustainability in Action Sports is a similar blog and they’re really not afraid to have a massive url. http://sustainabilityinactionsports.wordpress.com/
Treehugger is a good source of general environmental news and they recommend not taking your next snowboarding holiday in Dubai, which is advice we will be taking.
Whitelines magazine has a good article on reducing your environmental impact when snowboarding.
Chris Klug - a thoroughly nice chap with an extraordinary medical history
Hannah Teter in a bikini
Pamela Anderson on a snowboard