By Mary-Justine Lanyon
In the summer, the mountain’s special athletes swim, kayak, aqua bike, paddle board, fish and hike. They play golf in the spring, summer and fall. They practice yoga year-round. And, in the winter, they ski and snowboard on equipment adapted to their special needs.
This equipment and these experiences don’t come cheap. To help provide them to the athletes – and, at the same time, ensure they have fun, learn a new skill and develop self-confidence – the Rim of the World Special Athletes Foundation will hold its second annual fundraiser at Snow Valley Mountain Resort on Sept. 28.
The evening will begin at 4 p.m. with a ride up to the top of the mountain on Lift 1. There guests will enjoy wine, cheese and appetizers, as well as a spectacular view. The ride alone is magnificent!
Prior to their ride – or after it – guests will be able to visit the adaptive ski building and look at the equipment. An adaptive instructor will be on hand to explain how and when it is used.
Guests will ride back down by 6 p.m., when a steak and chicken barbecue will be served in the chalet. Dinner will be followed by a live auction.
Jack Cooperman, who founded the Special Athletes Foundation, is especially excited about two items: a full golf membership to Lake Arrowhead Country Club and the opportunity for bidders to provide scholarships to the athletes.
Some parents, he noted, are able to send their child – whether young or an adult – to one ski lesson but can’t afford additional ones. Through these scholarships, more athletes will be able to enjoy the full experience.
Last year, a custom-made decorative chairlift for two, created by Dave Miller of Big Bear, drew competitive bidding, driving the price up from an initial $500 to $2,100. Cooperman believes there will be three such chairs this year.
Those who attended last year’s event will recall the plethora of silent auction items. One guest was heard to say she had never seen so many at one event. Items available will include a round of golf for four, summer concert gift certificates from Lake Arrowhead Village, season passes from Snow Valley, private ski lessons, dinner for eight at the UCLA Conference Center, kayaking at the Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa, wine tasting for six at Sycamore Ranch Vineyard and Winery, tickets to the Blue Jay Jazz Festival, Rim Nordic gift certificates, a bear giclee print by Patty McDonald – and much more!
Cooperman and Kevin Somes, the vice president and general manager of Snow Valley, did not know what to expect last year and were delighted with the 116 folks who turned out. They are hoping for even better support this year.
While a major purpose of the event is to raise money to purchase more adaptive equipment, Cooperman said that “more importantly, we want to make sure people know we’re here for them.” To that end, he encourages people to spread the word about the availability of these programs.
For tickets to “An Evening on the Mountain Top,” visit www.snow-valley.com/tickets or call (909) 867-2751, ext. 100, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
And for more information on the Special Athletes Foundation, visit www.rimspecialathletes.org. Folks unable to attend the “mountain top” event may make donations through the website or by mailing checks to P.O. Box 1914, Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352.