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—Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort & Residences Vail

Get Involved: SOS Outreach

Share your love of the mountains with Colorado’s underserved youth.

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In 1993, Vail snowboarding instructor Arn Menconi realized his sport had a major PR problem: The perception of snowboarders as on-mountain hooligans had gotten so bad that Vail was considering banning all riding. To offer a positive spin, Menconi founded the Snowboard Outreach Society, a nonprofit that organized competitions to benefit local charities. In 1995, the organization became SOS Outreach, which aims to make snowboarding and other Colorado sports more accessible to low-income youth. In addition to supplying kids with gear, SOS assigns volunteer mentors to accompany participants on one- or five-day outdoor excursions throughout the year. To date, the nonprofit has brought more than 45,000 underserved kids into the great outdoors. This ski season, SOS is looking for volunteers to help organize gear inventory, track attendance, and/or mentor kids. While mentors should have experience in the sport they instruct, the most important qualification, says SOS executive director Seth Ehrlich, is “a desire to make a difference in the lives of these youths.”

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