Breaking News
More () »

For nearly two decades, Snowdays Foundation has empower youth via snowboarding

For the past 20 years, Snowdays Foundation has partner with youth mentorship groups to take kids and teens up to Mount Hood to learn how to snowboard.

MT HOOD, Ore. — It’s no secret, snowboarding is an expensive hobby and there are a lot of barriers stopping local kids from getting into the sport. Many kids and teens in Portland have never been to Mount Hood, the mountain they see on their city’s skyline.

For nearly two decades the Snowdays Foundation has been filling the game. The volunteer-led nonprofit teams up with youth mentoring organizations to take kids and teens up to Mount Hood to learn how to snowboard.

The goal with each trip isn’t to make pro snowboarders. It’s to simply have fun.

“The biggest thing that they come away with is empowerment,” Public Relations Director and volunteer Dale Kasey said. “Being empowered to do something they’ve never done before.”

All the coaches are volunteers who love the sport of snowboarding. They know, nothing creates a feeling of empowerment like a successful day on the mountain.

“It’s just about giving them a day where they’re like, I succeeded at something,” Program Director Eric Benedon said. “Our goal isn’t to make snowboarders, it is more to give a memorable experience.”

Snowdays Foundation was started in 2004 by professional snowboarder Travis Parker and his cousin, teacher Patrick Edwards. It’s nearly 100% volunteer-run.

Snowdays partners with Portland area nonprofits and Title 1 public schools to provide snowboarding as a motivating tool for the youth they serve.

“We get to provide this really cool, unique experience that I know, myself and other people involved in Snowdays have benefitted so much from,” Benedon said. “And just getting to share that with a group of young people that probably wouldn’t get to experience it otherwise.”

Volunteers like Benedon and Kasey meet the students in their neighborhood. They bring them all the gear they’ll need for the mountain: snow pants, jackets, goggles, gloves and helmets. They receive their snowboard rentals and lift tickets once they get to the mountain.

“Just being able to cover and handle all those barriers and then some is really important to us,” Benedon said.

The foundation believes a day on the snowboard provides a release and fosters camaraderie and confidence, and as any beginner on the mountain knows, it builds resiliency.

Before You Leave, Check This Out