Making it Count: Starting Now

So, it’s true that everyone needs to raise a minimum donation of $200 to hit the slopes for Ridge-A-Thon, and because we use peer-to-peer fundraising, you can start now by asking your family and social network to support this community cause. We make it easy to make a difference, just by spreading the word about the Emergency Medicines Fund and showing up to have some fun during Ridge-A-Thon!

Everyone wins something great from our prize table just for participating, and you get to take your pick based on the funds you raise in this event. Those who shred the most receive custom-designed medals for their valor on the Ridge. Everyone who participates in the event is entered automatically in two great drawings. The Big Kahuna Raffle includes industry gear – like Völkl Skis, Lange Boots, a Never Summer snowboard, Tecnica/Blizzard boots, K2 skis, or a Taos Ski Valley Season Value Pass. Participants also automatically receive one entry in the Booktaos.com Summer Vacation Raffle valued at $2,000. Entries are $5, or five for $20 and can be bought online here.

You don’t even have to ski to win – if you enter the My Kinda Ridge category you can raise funds in support of your effort creating and completing your own challenge. We want to be inclusive of all people in this event, and recognize that not everyone wants to hike, shred, and repeat. If you think you can try every hot chocolate in the valley, or ski every blue run on the mountain, we invite you rise to the challenge.

If you want to participate and help us make a positive impact on health in the Taos area by supporting families and individuals in our area, you can register here and come out and play on March 17 and 18, 2017. if you want to make a donation in support of one of our participants do it here.

 

One Month To Go…

With just one month to go before we hit the slopes, it’s time to ramp up our event registration. Please consider joining us this year for the 21st Annual Ben Myers Ridge-A-Thon at Taos Ski Valley. Now is the time to register and begin your online fund raising – the better your fund raising outcomes, the more likely you are to get top picks from our prize table! We have amazing prizes rolling in all month long from local and national businesses, and we’ll tell you more about them as they arrive.

Our Big Kahuna prize drawing, with automatic entry to all participants, will again include K2 skis and bindings, Never Summer snowboard, Volkl Skis, Tecnica Blizzard Boots, Lange Boots, and MORE!

If you can’t participate but want to support the event, you can buy a raffle ticket for the annual BookTaos.com vacation package, valued at over $2000.

A Note from Eva

Regarding the last Ridge-A-Thon: The family believes that Ben would have been very pleased to have seen some of the changes. While I understand that some of the Ridge diehards may have been sorry to see the event opened up to beginners, or nonskiers, understand this: Ben was very inclusive. The first thing Ben’s wife said, when she heard about the changes, was that Ben was very inclusive.

While skiing in Santa Fe, he would sometimes spend the day skiing with a fellow who had special needs. Ben and I referred to him as a boy, but later found out that he was around 30. People with Downs Syndrome sometimes appear younger than they are. The “boy,” as Ben and I referred to him, just loved skiing with Ben…and Ben loved skiing with him. The boy couldn’t keep up with Ben, but he wasn’t a bad skier. Few were as good as Ben. But the times they skied together weren’t about being the best, they were about a boy, with some special challenges, spending time with a skier that he really looked up to. It meant a lot to Ben that it meant a lot to the boy.

Not everyone can ski a double black diamond run. Not everyone can run up the Ridge. Ben would have been pleased to see lesser skiers included in the event that bears his name. He would have been pleased that anyone had a chance to participate.

One young skier came up to me at the last Ridge-A-Thon. He seemed to want my approval regarding the charity he had chosen. I was pleased that he chose the Emergency Medicines Fund, but I would have been pleased had he chosen any of the charities. I was pleased that he showed up, that he cared enough to participate in any capacity. Supporting a charity can be very personal. I think that Ben would have thought it was great that, again, other charities are now included. They are all great charities. They all represent things Ben loved, whether it be kids, or land, or art, or people in need of housing, or people who need medical care. Those are all great things.

I usually see you at the Ridge, but I may not make it this year. I have spine surgery in January and may not be healed enough to get there. If I’m not there, have some great runs for Ben. Understand that the family can not always be physically present, but we are always mentally there.

Regards, Eva (Ben’s sister)

$100,000 Raised for Community Health

The team at the Taos Community Foundation with the help of the Taos Ski Valley Foundation and our seven nonprofit event partners, and over 560 individual donors has achieved great success by raising over $100,000 with this weekend’s 20th Annual Ben Myers Ridge-A-Thon at Taos Ski Valley. As of this post the event has raised over $102,000 that will be used to impact community health, through the work of seven local nonprofits and the Community Health/Emergency Medicines Fund at Taos Community Foundation, providing grants to even more local nonprofits in the area of health and basic needs.

Hiking_Sign_web.jpg

Photo by Forest Rach

On Friday and Saturday March 18 and 19, fifty-eight fundraisers took to the mountain to meet their challenge and Raise the Ridge for community health. Each person who participated raised at least $200 and many raised over $1,000.00! Our top fundraisers are yet to be determined, as pledged donations are still being collected, but as of today our top fundraisers are Kent Forte with $3,676 raised, Susie Fiore of Field Institute of Taos with $3,178, and Michael Wagener with $3,065 also running the Ridge for Field Institute.

Our top performers on the Ridge this year were Michael Wagener with a solid 50 runs even in spicy conditions. Behind him, Peter Rich with 47 runs, on team Bridges Project, and with 44 runs, Kent Forte with 44. We had a tie for fourth place between Ross Burns and Asha Stout of team Rocky Mountain Youth Corps at 43, and Erik Gustafson of Nederland, Colorado rounded out the top 5.

For the ladies, Bonnie Strange of team Amigos Bravos came in first, with 21 runs cruising a snowboard,  and Lucille McDermott of team Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Gail Kennedy of team Bridges Project, and Marcia Ready for Field Institute finished with a three-way tie for second place with 14 runs completed. In third, another tie between Stacy Smith and Leslie Riegel for team Amigos Bravos – The Otters. In 4th, Eliana Lerman with 6 runs in a single day, and in 5th, veteran pair, Millie Lekas and Jessica Rone, the Savages, with 5 runs completed.

We were short on youth participants this year, but we had two notable young people in the group. Frank Spence, aged 19 from Houston Texas completed 38 runs in his two days of hiking. Jacob Dudley, the other half of the notorious Unicorns, aged 16 years from Taos completed 35 ridges in two days while wearing a fleece unicorn suit, which I am told is not effective technical gear for skiing. Both Unicorns are considering alterations to their gear next year. One of our longest participating 10 year olds, Angie Burns, raised over $800, but an unrelated injury kept her from putting in her runs this year.

Our Booktaos.com Taos vacation raffle went to a veteran participant, John Meyer of Taos. We gave away our six big Kahuna prizes to Extreme and RIdge-Raiser participants, and 8 $50 grants to volunteers and My Kinda Ridge participants.

Ridge Extreme and Ridge Raiser Category Lap Totals

50 Michael Wagener
47 Peter Rich
44 Kent Forte
43 Asha Stout
43 Ross Burns
42 Erik Gustafson
38 Frank Spence
35 Jacob Dudley
32 Mike Engelhardt
32 Ryan DeBue
21 Bonnie Strange
18 Griffin Ferrante
16 Jeff Mugleston
15 Matthew Gorman
14 Lucille Mcdermott
14 Marcia Ready
14 Gail Kennedy
12 Jonathan Kushner
12 Patrick Helton
11 Karlis Viceps
10 Bruce Katlin
10 Stacy Smith
10 Leslie Riegel
9 Carl Colonius
8 Ken Gallard
6 Eliana Lerman
5 Christopher Smith
5 Jessica Rone
5 Millie Lekas
4 Cheryl Hedden
4 Moira O’Hanlon
4 John Meyer
3 Susie Fiore
3 Diane Smith
2 Jim Asperger
2 Matthew Van Buren
1 Rhonda Vernon
1 Robyn Vernon
1 Ursula Berkowitz

Nonprofit Teams

Amigos Bravos
Leslie Riegel
Bonnie Strange
Moira O’hanlon
Joseph Zupan
Rachel Conn
Bridges Project for Education
Jeff Mugleston
Karina Armijo
Gail Kennedy
Peter Rich
Joleen Montoya
Field Institute of Taos
Susie Fiore
Michael Wagener
Matthew Gorman
Mike Engelhardt
Marcia Ready
Habitat for Humanity of Taos
Drew Dickey
Rhonda Vernon
Robyn Vernon
Jay Moore
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps Taos
Lucille Mcdermott
Ben Thomas
Patrick Helton
Griffin Ferrante
Dylan Carolus
Taos Land Trust
Cheryl Hedden
Christopher Smith
Matthew van Buren
Andy Jones
Carl Colonius
Taos Center for the Arts
Alford Johnson
Ursula Berkowitz
Kandace Nachtrab
Dianne Frost
Mary Domito

Fund Fest Nonprofits Announced

PrintTaos Community Foundation has confirmed the seven local nonprofits participating in this year’s Ridge-A-Thon as part of our first annual Winter Fund Fest. If you are a fan of the great work these organizations do in our community, please consider a gift to support one or more of their team members while they meet their Challenge and Fundraising goals for Ridge-A-Thon on March 18 and 19. Your dollars receive matching funds raised by the Foundation from Co-Challengers in our community and beyond. This is a big community effort to amplify giving, visibility and impact – and aside from that it’s going to be a blast.

Check them all out and find out why they are raising the ridge with TCF this year by clicking the link to their team page!

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
Taos Center for the Arts
Taos Land Trust

Don’t forget they will all be presenting cool interactive activities at the base area on March 19 from 9-3 – so please come support them there and see what they have to share with the community.

One Month to Go

So this is when things really start to hum. We have just under one month to go until March 18 and 19. Right now is the perfect time to register to be sure you can reach a solid fundraising total, putting you in contention for our top prizes. Just by joining the event in one of three challenge categories, from extreme, to intermediate, to no-hike, and raising the $200 minimum, you are entered to win gear from top names in winter sports, a TSV millennium pass, or the Booktaos.com Fabulously Fantastic Getaway. To find out more about how we reward participants look here. As our registration numbers grow, and donations are made, we can start to see the donation line get closer to the goal line, and with every dollar donated through our participants, we deepen our capacity to make a positive impact on community health in the Taos area.

One of Ben’s good friends, an originator of the event, reminds us why we continue to raise the ridge after 20 years:

I’m still inspired by my long-time friend and colleague, Ben, and his ultimately unsuccessful struggle for health and life. The currency of his story is just as potent now as it ever was. We see many folks in our community battling with health issues. There is a thin line between having what you need and being left alone to battle not just the health issues but the financial ones as well. Hopefully our efforts can help folks with both challenges. 

– Ken Gallard

In addition to joining Ridge-A-Thon as an individual fundraiser, this year for the first time, you can choose to have the donations you receive support your favorite participating local Nonprofit. There are several Winter Fund Fest Nonprofit teams that are still looking for members to complete their team of five this week, and you can join a team easily. One of the most exciting things about Winter Fund Fest is that Taos Community Foundation provides a match amount to amplify your efforts!

So it’s the 20th anniversary of Ridge-A-Thon, and the 1st annual Taos Community Foundation Winter Fund Fest. 20 years of raising the ridge for community health, and a new start which will expand the impact of the Ridge-A-Thon event by raising more funds for grants with community health focus, involving more members of the community as donors and fundraisers, and providing direct support and additional exposure to local nonprofits at work in our community.

Many of his friends remember Ben as an adventurous, strong and caring individual who always wanted to lighten the load for others, even when things were toughest for him. After losing Ben, the most appropriate way to honor this spirit and share Ben’s universal story of community strength is by continuing and expanding the Ridge-A-Thon. Ben’s abilities on the mountain he loved were inspiring to all who knew him, and through this event, even many who never did, and Taos Community Foundation wants to provide the opportunity for more and more members of our community to feel the sense of accomplishment and freedom that comes from taking on challenges in life and supporting and inspiring one another with our actions.

When it comes down to it, it’s all about taking care of one another.

photo by Kevin Rebholtz

Fund Fest Leverages Gifts

You may have heard that Ridge-A-Thon is expanding in an effort to make it’s appeal broader and its funding impact stronger. The Community Foundation has long wanted to make a bigger splash with our winter event at Taos Ski Valley, and this year is proving to be the perfect time to launch. For the 20th anniversary, TCF wants to get more people participating on the mountain, meaning more people talking to their friends and neighbors, and more people giving to the cause.

When a donor gives to a TCF Fund Fest Participant their gift has several impacts. First, the donation is applied to the fundraising totals of the participant they give to, making the participant eligible for awards and prizes. That donation will be designated by the participant toward the nonprofit cause they support, and then, the donation will be matched from pennies on the dollar up to 1:1 based on the volume of donations made by businesses and individuals in order to leverage the excellent fundraising work of the community.

The Taos Community Foundation Winter Fund Fest, and the Ben Myers Ridge-A-Thon are all about improving Community Health outcomes in the Taos area. Taos Ski Valley is playing a major role in the initiative to expand Ridge-A-Thon’s snowsports fundraising model to include local nonprofits, families and skiers/boarders of all ages and abilities under the Fund Fest umbrella, and they are doing so as the lead Challenger for the match pool. Over the next few years, there will be more surprises to come from this weekend event, as the fun and the fundraising impact grow stronger!

Ridge-A-Thon Turns 20!

The 2016 Ridge-A-Thon is a big deal, it means 20 years of making an impact on community health with one of the most fun, extreme, and rewarding events on the mountain. The Ben Myers Ridge-A-Thon at Taos Ski Valley is a unique snowsports event where athletes pit themselves against one another and the mountain; racing up and down the hike-to terrain at TSV over two days. This year there are two more categories of competition where fundraising is king. The prizes and party will be bigger than ever and we can’t wait to see who will step up to take up this momentous challenge in the name of community health and basic needs in Taos.

Once again this year, we will be focusing our efforts for raising funds online through the Classy.org/ridgeathon16 site to minimize administrative costs associated with tallying and tracking down pledges. If you’re thinking about participating, familiarize yourself with the Classy.org page now, we will post more info about registration for both events right after the new year.

This year, we have rethought, streamlined and expanded the event to boost participation and fundraising totals. The Taos Community Foundation presents not just the extreme Ridge-A-Thon competition, but two new challenge categories meaning two new ways to get involved and compete for most funds raised. Taos Community Foundation is a 501c3 community philanthropy organization serving Taos and Western Colfax Counties helps guide donors to reach their charitable and legacy goals, is an active community grant-maker, and builds operational capacity among local nonprofit organizations so they may better serve the community.

 

A Big Birthday

taos ridgeathon 2015-7So it’s Ridge-A-Thon’s 19th year, and today is Ben Myers’ 45th birthday.
The weather and snow conditions were variable, the storm of Thursday rolled through Friday, and then cleared up on Saturday. In one participant’s words “this year was brutal”, which brought our athletes back to the Looking Glass sun-kissed and ready to relax.

The snow conditions kept numbers lower for runs completed, but valiant efforts were made by all. Our ‘Most Ripping’ U-18s were Forest Rach of team ThunderLizards, 15, with 26 runs and Angie Burns, 8, with 4! Both received a Mona Van Riper Designs Skier pin. Our ‘Most Ripping’ Adults were Mike Engelhardt for the men with 45 runs taken, and for the ladies, Eliana Lerman of team Peregrine Falcons with 12, both receiving Mona’s classic bronze El Borracho pins. Former NM Governor Gary Johnson was on Engelhardt’s trail, coming up just short with 42 runs. With the third most runs taken was the Family Burns, who not only took 31 runs, and raised over $1,200 dollars, they also won two of our Big Kahuna prizes, Ross won the NeverSummer Industries snowboard, and Naty won a pair of Lange Boots!

Team Edelweiss’ Kent Forte and Jonathan Kushner raised the most funds bringing in over $4,500 for the Emergency Medicines Fund for the 5th year running! They also managed to hike 27 runs on the weekend. We had quite a few teams break into the thousands this year on their fundraising efforts. As of the event awards party we have received over $24,800 in donations and pledges. We were missing two of our biggest fundraisers this year, Mike “Red” Wagener on a knee injury, and one of our Grannies, Edy Anderson, who is always one of our biggest cheerleaders and fundraisers. Second most successful fundraisers were the Millie and Jessica Savages bringing in $3,219, then our Grannies – who happened to all be Gramps this year – with $2,558, and the Peregrine Falcons’ Ryan Debue and Eliana Lerman with $2,265.

Athan Miller from Golden, Colorado who donated to Millie and Jessica Savages won our huge BookTaos.com $5,000 vacation raffle, and all our athletes went home with amazing gifts, swag, the 2015 tshirt and Big Kahuna raffle prizes from our sponsors.

More details, thank yous and results are forthcoming. For now, suffice it to say, it was another Ben Myers Ridge-A-Thon, another beautiful opportunity for all of us to feel really good about giving back and going the extra mile for the people and things we believe in.

Photo by Kevin Rebholtz

The Yodel #5: Avalanche Safety, Embarrassing Yobs and Cool Events

We have borrowed this article from our friends at LiveTaos.com:

by Ross Burns:

There’s a lot of snow up there. The skiing is as good as it gets. I assume everybody knows that already.

Moving on.

To all the ignorant haters who booed patrollers from the lift line last Sunday, you should have your skiing/riding privileges revoked. You sounded like drunken yobs heckling the Undertaker at Wrestlemania VII. I heard patrollers say they saw more slides on Sunday than on any one day in the past 20 years. If you have a problem with waiting, go shred Angel Fire. To the rest of you, thank a patroller when you see one. They deserve it.

Still with me?

The New Belgium Mountain Adventure—formerly called Scavenge—is Saturday, March 14. Wear a tutu, chase chickens, search for Bigfoot and raise money for the Field Institute of Taos. Registration opens at 9:00 at the base of chair #1. The event runs from 10:00 to 3:00 with registration open until noon. There are always great prizes, like custom Fat Tire skis from Rocky Mountain Underground, swag, and as you probably guessed, beer. Just $10. More info on the event and the Field Institute at fitaos.org.

The Ben Myers Ridge-A-Thon is Friday, March 20, and Saturday, March 21. This extreme ski/board event has been going since 1997, when friends of Ben Myers wanted to raise money to help him with his medical expenses. Ben, who could ski anything, died of cancer at 26. Now the money goes to the Taos Community Foundation’s Emergency Medicines Fund.

I know you’re in it for the altruism, but the prizes are the best you’ll see at any event in Taos. No matter how much money you raise or how many runs you complete, you’ve got as good a chance as anyone to win a Millenium pass from TSV, Volkl skis, K2 skis, Lange Boots, a Never Summer snowboard or lots of other prizes.

If you’re not up for competing, you can sponsor a participant per run or at a flat rate. Even if you can only kick in a couple of clams, you’re helping. If no one has hit you up yet, you can pick a participant at classy.org/ridgeathon and donate online. I always put my money on an adorable eight-year-old ripper named Angie, classy.org/angierockstheridge.