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 site to minimize administrative costs associated with tallying and tracking down pledges. If you’re thinking about participating, familiarize yourself with the 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 $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

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

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 and donate online. I always put my money on an adorable eight-year-old ripper named Angie,

Certified Kachina Peak Event

UPDATE* Jan. 15, 2016 – TSV discontinued their really cool Kachina Peak logo, which means we’re not a Certified Kachina Peak event any more I guess. But really we’re the original Kachina Peak event, pre-logo.

Kachina Peak EventWe are proud to be a Certified Kachina Peak Event capitalizing on the crown jewel of the Taos Ski Valley in our annual Ridge-A-Thon event. Kachina peak and the hiking ascent to her crest is a symbol of freedom. Ridge-Heads, as they have often been known, are those who, like Ben did, spend as many days each season as possible cramming in the open-air freedom of the challenging and beautiful hike-to terrain between work shifts and on days off. Ridge-Heads are tuned in to the landscape and the terrain while on boards and generally, they’re into squeezing the maximum juice out of life. We’re so proud of the history of this event, and pleased to see it continue making a difference in the lives of those who give, those who hike, and those who receive the benefit of the Emergency Medicines Fund, long into the future with our partner Taos Ski Valley.

Donate Now

*UPDATE – This page and links are 2015 info, the links are to an inactive fundraising page.

Raise Funds OnlineReady to participate in this year’s event as a donor?

Give in the way that works best for you.

1. Give to an athlete of your choice by visiting our donation page, and click Donate Now!

2. You can write a check to Taos Community Foundation, and put the athlete’s name in the memo line, along with Ridge 2015. Mail donations to:

Taos Community Foundation
PO Box 1925
Taos, NM 87571

3. We do not prefer cash because it is time consuming to track and manage the donation and thank the right people. Donations made in cash should be in clearly marked envelopes with the amount and the complete donor contact information included.

Register Now

Ready to participate in this year’s event as an athlete?

1. Find out why we Raise the Ridge.

2. Get info about registering and read and print necessary forms, especially waivers, advertising poll and team information.

3. Visit our donation page to get started with your fundraising! It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s secure! You need to raise $200 or more before the event to enter Ridge-A-Thon, and you have to have received at least $100 in advance of the event (online, or cash and check), but you set your own fundraising goal on Classy’s fundraising page and tell your friends and family on social media and email in a way that makes it easy for everyone.

4. Read the Tools for Athletes page for more fundraising tips so you can reach your goal and help us tip the scales for the Emergency Medicines Fund.

5. Show up on March 20 between 8-8:30am to The Looking Glass inside Tenderfoot Katie’s at the TSV base area to check in and submit any check or cash donations and any remaining paperwork. You can register the morning of the event but the minimum pledges required goes up to $250. Course opens with first chair, report to Ridge-A-Thon support station at the top of lift 2 hike to terrain access area, plan your menu and take the first fun, I mean run.

Book Taos Vacation Raffle

Win with BookTaos

This year we are proud to announce that we will be raffling an amazing vacation package from during our Ridge-A-Thon awards party on March 21 at Taos Ski Valley. The raffle is open to athletes, donors, and the public! We asked, and provided an astoundingly generous package for two of both exciting and relaxing activities along with five nights’ lodging and even cooking classes all for a lucky winner and an even luckier friend!

Tickets for raffle entry will go on sale for $25 each to the public on February 20. Our athletes automatically receive up to 4 entries, based on funds received prior to March 21. Donors supporting an athlete receive a ticket for every donation to individual athletes in increments of $25, up to $100. Donation must be received before March 21 to be qualified for entry. Max 4 entries per individual to keep the playing field reasonably level.

We are thrilled with this exciting new addition to the fund-raising action, and hope that it will help us to raise even more for the Emergency Medicines Fund. You can buy your tickets now!
Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

The Fabulously Fantastic Getaway Valued at over $5,000

Sponsors ski

Thanks to All Who Gave

I am so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support for this year’s Ridge-A-Thon, and I haven’t even seen what our athletes have raised. I can not thank these local mom-and-pops, individuals, big companies and snow sports industry manufacturers enough for stepping up the way they have, so willingly, to make this event possible. From core support and big dollar prizes to dining, lodging, adventures and great merchandise, they honor the investment made by the athletes who come out to hike and the donors who support them. We all share in the success of this event. We are working together to raise the bar for community access to healthcare, and providing for one another by each giving the best of what we have to give. We Raise the Ridge for our Emergency Medicines Fund.

One really beautiful thing about Ridge-A-Thon is that so many of the people I spoke with this winter while preparing for the event – athletes, donors and sponsors, alike, remember Ben Myers for his unrivaled skill on the slopes, his pioneering spirit and his good will toward others. They also recall the sad reality of losing him at the age of 26 to an ugly and aggressive cancer. His story reminds us all to seize the day, and to support one another; and through supporting this event each of us chooses to demonstrate our support for those ideals. He would have turned 44 tomorrow and I would like to think that Taos will be celebrating, I know we will be up on the ridge.

Hiking out toward the quiet whiteness of the peak and its banner of prayer flags, maybe the sun is shining, maybe the wind is blowing you off the spine, but regardless, there’s a point where it’s just you and the mountain and the breath and each step in front of the last; and I think Ridge-A-Thon, for the athletes, is always a very tangible reminder of the beauty of being alive, and the wonder of being present in it, through pain, elation and everything between.

If you want to Raise the Ridge this weekend:
If you have something to give please visit
If you want to hike visit