Skiers lend a helping hand to Vermonters

Jackson, Wyo., locals helped raise $4,000 for hurricane repair in Vermont. Courtesy of Julie Weinberger

Due to Hurricane Irene, Vermont suffered the worst flooding the state has seen in 84 years. But, luckily, the ski and snowboard community around the country is chipping in to help the Green Mountain State with relief efforts. From Vermont ski resorts to the entire town of Jackson, Wyo., there has been an overwhelming amount of support in the past few weeks by the ski and snowboard industry.

Vermont's Sugarbush Resort donated $100,000 to the Mad River Valley Community Fund one week after the storm. "We are part of this community, and we want to provide support for our neighbors," said Win Smith, president of Sugarbush Resort. Sugarbush also lent its trucks and employees to help the community clear debris, repair roads and dig out homes. In addition, Sugarbush is partnering up with Waitsfield local singer/songwriter Grace Potter for a fundraiser acoustic performance that will take place on Oct. 10.

Burlington local and pro skier LJ Strenio has paired up with photographer Dan Brown and Vermont-based Ski the East to sell limited-edition posters with proceeds going to Mad River Valley. Brown was in Vermont when Irene hit and on his way home, he came across a photography studio in Waitsfield that had been destroyed. "I could've easily been in that position, having all of my hard work just washed away," Brown said. "Right from there, I wanted to do something." The fundraising poster Brown has assembled features his shot of Strenio doing a double cork 1260 over an iconic art installation along Vermont's stretch of Interstate 89. Brown and Strenio have both signed 300 posters and are selling them online and at Meathead Films' 'Prime Cut' premiere in Burlington this weekend.

Even resorts outside of Vermont have pitched in to help. Massachusetts' Jiminy Peak raised nearly $14,000 to be split in donations to the American Red Cross Hurricane Irene relief and the employees of sister resort Bromley Mountain. "Though we had $40,000 worth of damage ourselves, I recognized that there were people out there that were much more severely harmed than we were, and I thought, we can do something about this," said president and CEO of Jiminy Brian Fairbank.

Last Thursday, locals in Jackson, Wyo., gathered at Cutty's Pub in a fundraising effort put on by a few locals with strong ties to Vermont's Mad River Valley. The event was called "JH 4 VT" and featured raffle prizes that ranged from Vermont Maple Syrup to lift tickets to gear. "It was really great to see the local community come together in the way it did for this event," says Julie Weinberger, one of JH 4 VT's organizers who grew up skiing at Stratton. The fundraiser collectively generated close to $4,000. "Vermonters always go out of their way to help others," said Don Watkins, another JH 4 VT organizer and UVM alum, "and we're more than happy to do what we can to help them, especially during a time of need."