While Lee Canyon’s location seven climate zones above the desert floor keeps summer guests cool and comfortable, those who have been injured negotiating the slopes during the winter are never far from the minds of management, employees and guests.
The High Fives Foundation is a nonprofit that aids mountain sports athletes with life-threatening injuries. Lee Canyon, along with sister resorts in California and Colorado, ran a Feel Good Fridays program to benefit the foundation, and the results of their efforts are in.
Guests were offered $25 lift tickets on Friday during March, with $5 donated to the High Fives Foundation. Lee Canyon announced this month that $20,826 was raised for the foundation, bringing the three-year total to more than $50,000.
Other POWDR Co. resorts taking part were Boreal Mountain in California and Copper and Eldora Mountains in Colorado, and Lee Canyon brought in the most money.
“Call it a friendly sibling rivalry for a good cause among our sister properties,” said Jim Seely, Lee Canyon’s director of marketing. “Our areas are all very unique, but as a part of the POWDR family we are very aligned in our commitment to giving back to our respective communities in ways that are meaningful for our guests, staff and the greater community. We want to thank Lee Canyon’s guests and our POWDR family for creating a positive impact on the lives of skiers and snowboarder facing significant challenges that result from grave injuries.”
Although Lee Canyon is closed for the summer because of construction of its Hillside Lodge, POWDR is taking part in a nationwide initiative over the next two weeks to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.
The ECHO Donate Life program is an annual initiative devoted to empowering multicultural communities to save and heal lives by registering as organ, eye and tissue donors. Created in 2015, ECHO Donate Life is a partnership between the Association for Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation and Donate Life America.
Lee Canyon has been at the forefront of raising awareness for organ donation through the annual Chris Ruby Cup, launched in 2016 to benefit Nevada Donor Network, a nonprofit that coordinates, recovers and allocates lifesaving organs and tissues for Nevada transplant patients. Lee Canyon donates 100 percent of the proceeds from the January ski and snowboard race while encouraging people to register as donors at the event.
Roughly 500 new organ donors have registered at the January race, which honors the life of Chris Ruby, a 20-year old local snowboarder who lost his life in 2014. Ruby’s organs and tissues helped more than 90 patients.
To register as an organ donor, go to nvdonor.org and click on the appropriate link.
Other initiatives launched by the resort include Spread the Warmth, a coat drive supporting Project 150, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit that assists more than 6,000 disadvantaged high school students; the Junior Rangers program run with the U.S. Forest Service, in which more than 200 local kids have attended five-day winter and summer programs learning to become stewards of the environment; and Play Forever, in which Lee Canyon and its sister resorts have reduced carbon emissions by 49 percent over the past decade.
Combining good business with good environmental policy, the goal of Play Forever is to protect the environment while simultaneously inspiring participation in outdoor activities. Measures include the installation of a solar power and battery bank which allowed Lee Canyon to be entirely off the electrical grid, the use of LED lights throughout the resort and a carpooling incentive program in which more than 60 percent of the resort’s 200 employees take part.
“On average, a busy winter day means up to 8,000 cars on the roads in the Spring Mountains, and our goal is to get 10 guest carpools per day to alleviate traffic on mountain roads and decrease carbon emissions,” Seely explained.
Other parts of Play Forever at Lee Canyon include cutting out single-use plastic materials at the resort through a water bottle filling station and providing reusable water bottles for all staff.
Construction of the Hillside Lodge, while forcing the closure of the resort for the summer season, is scheduled to be completed by December. Hikers are permitted to use Lee Canyon’s upper parking lot for access to the Bristlecone Trail during construction.