Visit any western resort town and you’ll find a robust LatinX community, sometimes making up 30% of the population. It’s a robust part of community culture. But oftentimes, it’s a segment that doesn’t ski. SOS Outreach, a nonprofit serving 15 resort and urban communities nationwide including Utah, is seeking to change that. Today, Last Chair will visit an SOS Outreach ski day at Park City Mountain to speak with leaders, mentors and participants about the engaging program.
SOS Outreach was formed nearly 30 years ago and has operated in Utah since 2015. Its mission is to bring together underserved youth under a mentorship program and get them on snow, with supporting partnerships for equipment and lifts. And while the program introduces youth to the joy of the sport, it also brings life lessons of character and values.
Central to its cause is inclusivity - ensuring that underserved youth in resort towns have a pathway to the sport. It’s especially important for the LatinX community where their parents and most of their peers have little or no past engagement in the sport.
SOS Outreach event manager Abbey Eddy recalls a story of a 12 year old Mexican boy who was driving with his father and admiring the mountains. “'Those mountains, they’re not for us, son,'” said Eddy of the father’s reply. “You just hear that and you realize that there's a whole population moving here for a different reason than most people think. And traditionally, like myself, it's white people that move here to ski. But there's a large population. It's about 20 percent of our Park City community that moves, not necessarily to ski, but to work and for other opportunities that primarily is our LatinX population.”
On the March Saturday, Last Chair visited an SOS Outreach program at Park City Mountain, it was an industry day where representatives of the mountain and other businesses were there to introduce youth to potential career opportunities in the sport they loved. Earlier in the season, Olympians Steven Nyman and Brita Sigourney were a big hit with SOS participants.
At the base of the First Time lift, the group of around 100 skiers, riders and mentors gathered for a briefing. Some of it was the logistics of the day. But more was focused on life skills and leadership as program manager Palmer Daniels deftly brought the group together with volunteer mentors to talk about values.
This episode of Last Chair takes us inside a segment of our population that is a vital part of our resort communities. Listen in to learn more about SOS Outreach from leader Abbey Eddy, and especially mentor Justin and program participant E. And as you listen, imagine the big smiles on their faces as they headed up the mountain.
Here’s a sample of the conversations. Listen in to the full Last Chair podcast to learn more.
Abbey Eddy, Individual Giving & Events Manager
An avid outdoor enthusiast, Abbey Eddy is one of the key leaders of SOS Outreach in Park City
We ski because it’s fun. But SOS Outreach brings more than fun, doesn’t it?
It's really an incredible organization that we can have this national reach with the same mission across the board to make sure that we're increasing diversity in our snowsports communities, increasing access and also being really intentional with our programming and our curriculum so that we're helping kids to transition the life skills that they naturally learn from being on the mountain into using them into their everyday lives and strengthening our mountain communities as a result.
What’s fascinating to me is that SOS Outreach works in both mountain communities and metro areas.
It's an incredible scene. We have these more rural mountain community programs, but then our urban locations are powerful and impactful. It's really a different challenge. In mountain communities, kids are looking at the mountains every day but might not be able to access them. And then in a place like Detroit, you're working with kids that have never seen skis before. And so opening their eyes to even the sport of skiing and snowboarding, it's opening their world into something totally new, different, exciting and impactful.
How is this population different within the community?
For a lot of our Latinx families that have moved here, their parents don't ski. Then you don't have that same comfort level with the sport of walking through the village. How do you carry your skis and what equipment do you need? There's a lot that goes into skiing. It's more than just having a lift ticket, but having to have all the right clothes and the right boots and socks. And again, this clunky gear and how you're managing all of those different pieces just to get to the base of the lift can be challenging. And when your parents aren't helping you with that process of getting from the parking lot to the lift because they haven't done it before. We're really intentional with making sure that our mentors and adults and volunteers from the community are helping provide that kind of coaching and assistance to the youth so that they feel more comfortable and confident when they are putting their skis on at the base of the lift there.
One word to describe what SOS Outreach means to the community?
That's a really hard one, can I use three words? One phrase: spread the love. We say it at every ride day. It really encompasses what we do and the impact that we have.
Justin, SOS Outreach Alumni and Current Member
Justin was an SOS Outreach skier who is now a mentor and a third-year student at the University of Utah. (Tom Kelly)
Justin is a first-generation college student in his family, attending the University of Utah majoring in biology. He’s been skiing for a decade and now serves as a mentor for youth.
What was the thing you first loved about skiing?
I enjoyed the speed mostly. I'm a little speedster. I like to go down the slopes - I'm obviously careful with other people around me - but I like to go fast.
What does it mean to you to be a first-generation skier in your family?
It's a privilege to have the opportunity to ski. It just gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. It relieves stress from your work, house and school. It's awesome.
What motivated you to become a mentor?
I became a mentor because I wanted to have an impactful meaning to my community. Mostly, my Latin American friends, I just want to show them that you can totally have fun. And I know life might be stressful for your parents and yourself, but it's good to go outside and enjoy.
What does skiing bring to you?
It's the only sport that I really love and enjoy. And that brings me happiness and joy. It's fun to hang out with your friends when you're skiing, too.
E, SOS Outreach Skier
A passionate SOS Outreach skier, E is a junior at Park City High School. (Tom Kelly)
E is a junior at Park City High School who has been skiing since fifth grade. Her big smile and joyous approach to skiing are contagious within the group.
E, how did you get started skiing?
SOS was one of the ways, back then when I was in fifth grade. I didn't have the opportunity or enough money to actually go skiing. But SOS helped with that and it's been affordable. I have been able to go out and ski even more than I would have had.
Did your family ski?
I am the first person in my family to ski. They kind of find it cool, like they kind of want to try it out now because they see how much I loved it. But when it first came about, they were like, ‘oh, it's so weird. Why do you want to do that?’
What have you learned in SOS Outreach programs?
Oh, not only are people there to help mentor you, but they help you be safe, and they teach you all these valuable lessons about how to be a great person overall. And it's like community service. It's really big for them because I wouldn't find the essence of community service unless it was like SOS trying to get me to reach out for that.
Do you remember your first black diamond run?
Oh, I was so scared my first time! Like, I looked down and I was like, ‘oh no, I can't do this. I can't do this. Like, this is too much for me.’ But one of the mentors with me guided me down the mountain. ‘It's going to be alright, if you fall, it's going to be OK, and no one's going to judge you for falling.’ And after that, I was kind of like, ‘OK, maybe it's not that bad.’
How has skiing helped you as a person?
Yeah, it's a lot. I feel it does talk about a lot of my personality or who I have become as a person. Skiing has made me open up more to people. Skiing has shown me it's OK to be afraid of something. It's OK to know where your limits are but don't also be afraid to push them sometimes and be a better person at that.
Before heading up the mountain, how do you engage your message of personal character and values?
We do what we call a Circle of Love. And in that Circle of Love, we talk about our core values of the day. Today's core value is wisdom. And so we share opportunities of making sure that kids see examples of wisdom that they can share with their groups and then just trying to get everyone hyped up and excited. And again, remember, they're part of this SOS community when they're out there and that they know that this is a place for them to really be intentional with creating that inclusive environment. and that Circle of Love does that.
What you see on an SOS Outreach ski day are a lot of smiles - from the young adults from the LatinX community learning a new sport to the volunteer mentors giving their time. As SOS’ Abbey Eddy says, it’s all about ‘Spreading the Love.’ Listen in to learn about SOS Outreach and the impact it’s having on ski towns.
SOS Outreach believes that no matter what social, societal, or economic barriers exist - that every child deserves the opportunity to thrive. Today, SOS Outreach is celebrating over 25 years of pairing youth with mentors to engage them in skiing and riding while, at the same time, teaching them valuable life skills and values. SOS Outreach has programs in 15 communities nationwide - both resort towns like Park City and urban centers including Detroit, Portland and more. One of the keys to SOS Outreach’s success has been the thousands of mentors who volunteer to help provide a personal experience in the mountains for youth.
Tom Kelly: |00:00:03| And today on Last Chair, we're going skiing. It's always a good podcast episode when you get to go to the slopes. But before we do, we're going to talk a little bit about something that's extremely important in mountain communities and that is our Latinx population getting them out to the slopes. My guest today is Abbey Eddy from SOS Outreach in Park City. And Abbey, thanks for joining us on Last Chair.
Abbey Eddy: |00:00:24| Thanks so much for having me, Tom.
Tom Kelly: |00:00:26| Yeah, it is a great day. Looking forward to getting out there, getting a little bit of snow and getting out there with some of the students in your program. But to kick it off, just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you landed here in Park City.
Abbey Eddy: |00:00:39| Absolutely. Yeah, excited to be out here, especially on an SOS ride day. There's nothing better. I grew up in Washington, D.C., far from the mountains, but skied my first time at Park City Mountain Resort in 2000. And I've been coming back every year since and moved here in 2009 to make it my full-time residence and don't think I could ever leave these beautiful mountains. And I just love living here and our great community that we have here in Park City.
Tom Kelly: |00:01:06| Yeah, it really is. And SOS Outreach, an organization that I've known for many, many years, and it's great to have the organization here in Park City. Can you give us a little background on SOS Outreach, how it began and how it made its way to Park City?
Abbey Eddy: |00:01:20| Definitely. SOS outreach has been in Park City since 2015, but the organization as a whole started twenty eight years ago in Vail Valley, and we have expanded since then, taking our mission to build character and leadership and underserved youth through mentoring outdoors to 15 different locations across the country in those twenty eight years. So we started in Colorado and operate still in Eagle County, there at our headquarters and then also in Summit County and Denver and some smaller communities in Leadville and Durango and Steamboat as well in Colorado, here in Park City. We went out to Tahoe and we're in North and South Lake Tahoe, we're in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle and Portland and also in the Midwest in Detroit, Minneapolis and Chicago. And so it's really an incredible organization that we can have this national reach with the same mission across the board to make sure that we're increasing diversity in our snowsports communities, increasing access and also being really intentional with our programming and our curriculum so that we're helping kids to transition the life skills that they naturally learn from being on the mountain into using them into their everyday lives and strengthening our mountain communities as a result.
Tom Kelly: |00:02:37| We're going to talk mostly here about mountain communities like Park City, but it was interesting for me to hear that SOS is in some metro areas.
Abbey Eddy: |00:02:45| It is. It's an incredible scene. We have these more rural mountain community programs, but then our urban locations are really powerful and impactful. It's really a different challenge of ... in mountain communities kids are looking at the mountains every day but might not be able to access them. And then in a place like Detroit, you're working with kids that have never seen skis before. And so opening their eyes to even the sport of skiing and snowboarding, it's opening their world into something totally new and different and exciting and impactful and the smiles that we can put on kid's faces across the country, though the same smiles that you see everywhere, but then what they're coming to in their background that they have with skiing and snowboarding is completely different, and it's really powerful to be able to provide that opportunity to so many.
Tom Kelly: |00:03:33| So even in the metro areas, skiing and snowboarding is really centric to the SOS's Outreach program.
Abbey Eddy: |00:03:39| Absolutely. It's all about getting kids on snow, partnering with so many of our incredible mountains, primarily our Vail Resorts mountains, and making sure that kids across the country have access.
Tom Kelly: |00:03:51| Let's talk about mountain communities. I've lived here in Park City for 34 years and I've watched this. The LatinX community has been really vital to our economy here. They make up a good percentage of our population here. But historically, not so many of them have found their way out under the snow to enjoy the same things that so many others do in town. This is really a pretty common issue across mountain town mountain resort towns in the West, isn't it?
Abbey Eddy: |00:04:21| It is. This is one of the more impactful stories that I've heard, but one of our board members, who's actually an alumni of our program, tells the story of when his family moved to the Vail Valley when he was 12 years old from Mexico and he was driving into the mountains and said, Wow, look at that. And his dad said, But those mountains, they're not for us, son. And you just hear that and you realize that there's the whole population moving here for a different reason that most of people think about Park City. And traditionally, like myself, it's white people that move here to ski. But there's a large population. It's about 20 percent of our Park City community that moves, not necessarily to ski, but to work and for other opportunities in that primarily is our LatinX population. And so we want to make sure, too that that group feels welcome into our community and skiing and snowboarding is such a vital part of these mountain towns. It's a reason that so many people come here and love being here. It's the reason that I came here and that I love being here and skiing has given so much to me as a person. And so I love this organization that I'm able to provide that opportunity for others and give back and make sure that our whole community of Park City is really seen and accepted. And a part of that, that fabric of skiing and snowboarding. I'm going to make
Tom Kelly: |00:05:42| An assumption here, but I think so many of us in the community got into the sport because our parents got into it and our brothers and sisters were into it. I imagine that with most of these, in many cases first-generation members of the Latinx community, they don't have that inspiration, so they need to get it from somewhere else.
Abbey Eddy: |00:06:02| I think that's completely accurate that, like you said, when your parents go skiing, they take you with them and I intend to. I have a four-month-old at home and I'll take him skiing and he'll learn how to, you know, that'll be a part of his upbringing. And for a lot of our Latinx families that have moved here and their parents don't ski. Then you don't have the same comfort level with the sport of walking through the village. How do you carry your skis of what equipment do you need? There's a lot that goes into skiing. It's more than just having a lift ticket, but having to have all the right clothes and the right boots and socks and. And again, this clunky gear and like how you're managing all of those different pieces just to get to the base of the lift can be challenging. And when your parents aren't helping you with that process of getting from the parking lot to the lift because they haven't done it before. Put on these uncomfortable boots and buckle them tight and knowing those little nuances of makes skiing and snowboarding more fun and more successful. And so some of the things that, as does, is we're really intentional with making sure that our mentors and adults and volunteers from the community are helping provide that kind of coaching and assistance to the youth so that they feel more comfortable and confident when they are putting their skis on at the base of the lift there.
Tom Kelly: |00:07:22| I want to talk more about the mentors and some of the challenges with the clunky gear and all the other things. But first, you need to get them there. You've got to find them and you've got to incent them and motivate them to get out. What are some of the things you do to find those potential candidates for your program and to motivate them to get out there on a Saturday?
Abbey Eddy: |00:07:39| Definitely. We have incredible partners. We work directly with schools and youth agencies. So here in Park City, we were working with the Park City School District, Wasatch School District, South Summit and then a few youth agencies in Salt Lake, like the Boys and Girls Club, to help us to identify the youth that would be best matched for our programs. And so we work directly with teachers and teacher coordinators there. And then those teachers not only help us to register the kids, but then they attend each of those ride days and there being a trusted adult there on the mountain that they say, I believe in you in the classroom, you trust me now. I trust a ski instructor and I believe in you on the mountain and you can trust the ski instructor also. And having that person there to really help facilitate and bridge that gap is so crucial for our kids to feel more comfortable and courageous to step out there and try something new.
Tom Kelly: |00:08:35| I imagine, too, that the kids themselves who participate in the program become maybe some ambassadors of sorts to bring their friends, their friends
Abbey Eddy: |00:08:44| And their siblings. A lot of siblings, a lot of cousins. We have so many incredible families that we get to work with their entire family, and it can be really fun to, you know, we'll have a fourth-grader. And then two years later, their younger sister joins us, and two years later, their younger brother joins us and it continues all the way up until 12th grade and even beyond. And so we then have an incredible alumni network here of people who have finished, graduated from high school and graduated with the SOS program and are now in college that come back to ride with our current youth so that they are also being mentors in some ways of telling our younger kids about their college experience. But also it's fun because it's oftentimes with their siblings. We just had earlier in the season, we had a current college student who came and rode with her younger sister, who's a current member of our program, and it was really awesome to see that connection built on the mountain as well.
Tom Kelly: |00:09:41| I want to explore the mentors. A little bit more years ago in town, there was a program started called Ninos on Skis, and I had been involved in the early days of that through St. Mary's Church here in town. And I've also been out to your programs before and seen the impact of these mentors there. They're probably as excited as anybody to be out there and helping these kids and help. To introduce them to this amazing sport of skiing or snowboarding?
Abbey Eddy: |00:10:05| Absolutely. Just like I said before that, skiing has given so much to me personally. I know that it has to you, Tom, and do so many of us. And so the opportunity to give back a bit of that is really rewarding experience for our mentors. But we're so grateful for the incredible mentor community that we have and our mentors. It's a really fun, interesting mix that runs from 20-year-old college students who are working in the ski shop on the weekends and going to college and mentor with SOS up to our retired community, who have moved to Park City and are looking for ways to become more involved and everything in between. And so it's a wide range of ages and genders and careers and backgrounds, and it's a great opportunity then for our kids to meet so many different leaders in the community for them to see and understand that success comes in many different forms. And so then for our youth, they have lots of opportunities to see different people in different walks of life come together that are all unified by a love of skiing and snowboarding. And the sense of belonging and the sense of community that brings is really powerful, and it allows our kids to feel a part of something greater also. And then that confidence that they gain from having that sense of belonging, it translates into the classroom, it translates into the lunchroom. And their confidence to speak up in class or make new friends and build their communities elsewhere.
Tom Kelly: |00:11:36| You know, I love that and I think it's something we don't often think about. We go out to slide around on the snow do seemingly just have fun, but all of us take away great life lessons from that experience.
Abbey Eddy: |00:11:48| Definitely. And something that we're really like. I said, we're really intentional to help kids to recognize that. And so each day, when we're out on the mountain, we focus on one of the six core values. So our core values are courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, compassion, and humility, which are all things that you definitely need to be successful out there on the mountain and participate in this action sport, but also to be a caring part of our community and an active member of our community. Having those core values is really important. And so each day the mentors are talking to kids about what is that core value means. So when the core value of the day is courage, what does it mean to be courageous and then point out examples throughout the day, asking kids how they've demonstrated that core value that day? And then when they see them again, the next time you can recap and say, OK, what are some other ways that you are courageous throughout the week? Or how did you have to use compassion when you are interacting with others this week? And it's really fun to see youth come up with examples and in more than anything. So our program is a nine year progressive program, and by the end of nine years, kids really take to heart those core values and they really understand and live through them. And to see some of our older kids and hear them talk about the core values and how they've integrated them into their lives is really powerful.
Tom Kelly: |00:13:18| If someone listening wants to learn more about SOS Outreach or to support your cause, where can they go?
Abbey Eddy: |00:13:24| Please go to our website, SOSOutreach.org and they can find info on the Park City program there as well. Find info on our national programs and specifically our Park City programs. And you can also contact me at SOSOutreach.org.
Tom Kelly: |00:13:42| Great. A couple more things. We're about to head out on the slopes here for a great Saturday with SOS Outreach at Park City Mountain. What are we going to find out there today?
Abbey Eddy: |00:13:51| We have about one hundred and twenty kids out here and 26 mentors, so it is busy and it's a lot of excitement, a lot of wonderful kids. They will be going through their industry day today and learning about career opportunities here at Park City Mountain and also from some other local partners of ours, including Evo and Armada. And it's just going to be a wonderful day of kids and mentors building community. Our core value of the day today is wisdom, so we will all be sharing our wisdom and using our wisdom and
Tom Kelly: |00:14:26| Love that. We usually do a Fresh Tracks section where I asked the guest all sorts of interesting questions, but I was just going to give you one. You and SOS have made a real difference in this community when you think about what you do and the impact you make on these kids. What's one word that comes to mind? I know it's a tough one
Abbey Eddy: |00:14:46| That's a really hard one, can I use three words?
Tom Kelly: |00:14:48| I'll let you use three ...
Abbey Eddy: |00:14:49| One phrase, spread the love and spread the love is ,,, we say it every day at a ride day. And I think it really encompasses what we do in the impact that we have is that we can spread the love.
Tom Kelly: |00:15:00| Love it. Abbey Eddy from SOS Outreach here in Park City, we are going to head out to the slopes right now and talk to some of the participants in the program after this short break.
Abbey Eddy: |00:15:11| Thanks, Tom.
Tom Kelly: |00:15:53| Abbey, thank you so much for giving us a little bit of background on SOS Outreach. We are now out on the snow. It is snowing here at Park City Mountain Saturday morning and SOS Outreach is gathering and my first guest today is Justin. And Justin, thanks for joining us on Last Chair, the Ski Utah podcast.
Justin: |00:16:09| Yeah, no problem. It's a pleasure.
Tom Kelly: |00:16:10| Just to kick it off. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Justin: |00:16:13| Ok. I am a first generation student that's going to the University of Utah. It's my third year down there and I'm majoring in biology and I've been skiing for probably more than a decade, so it's been quite a long time.
Tom Kelly: |00:16:24| Well, that is a long time. I mean, how did you initially get into skiing?
Justin: |00:16:29| I initially started back in the day before, so this was a thing. There was a program called Ninos on Skis that was run by the Catholic Church, by St. Mary's. So I was in that program pretty much most of my entire life. And after that, they kind of ended it. So then as the list came in and I heard of SOS through a club through the high school named Bright Futures, which helps out first generation students that want to go to college. And basically, they would provide us with any academic stuff activities for kind of for free for us who can't really afford to have fun on the slopes and stuff.
Tom Kelly: |00:17:09| What was the thing that first got you really excited about skiing is that the speed, the being in the outdoor air, what was it that really got you fired up as a young boy?
Justin: |00:17:19| I enjoyed the speed mostly. I'm a little speedster, so I like to go down the slopes and I'm obviously careful with other people around me. But I like to go fast and then remain the reason why.
Tom Kelly: |00:17:31| For listeners who might not be familiar with the scenarios in a ski town, can you tell us? You know, you mentioned you're a first generation. Tell us what that means.
Justin: |00:17:42| I mean, it's a privilege to be to have the opportunity to ski and how many people have the options to do that when you're skiing? I don't know. It just gives you the freedom to do whatever you want because you like it relieves stress from your work house school. I mean, it's awesome.
Tom Kelly: |00:18:07| And I don't know how else to say it's good. You know, I think for a lot of us here in Park City, you know, we watch that Nino's on skis program and how important it was to the Latinx community, and SOS has taken that on as well. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of getting more kids from the Latin community on snow and being able to enjoy the great mountains we have here in Utah?
Justin: |00:18:29| Yeah, from my point of view, most of the time most parents don't have the time to take their kids out to do sports and stuff because they're all mostly working hard, doing seven days a week. It's kind of sad. So it gives. This program gives the opportunity for kids that normally don't have the chance to go out to have, enjoy themselves, have fun and stay outside of the go outside from the house, mostly and just...
Tom Kelly: |00:19:00| Now you came up as a young boy through the Ninos on Skis and into the SOS Outreach program, and now you're an alumni of the program, you're actually working as a mentor to give you a good feeling to give back and help to introduce other boys and girls to this program like you had the opportunity 10 years ago.
Justin: |00:19:16| Yeah, I mostly became a mentor because I wanted to have an impactful meaning to my community. Mostly, my Latin American friends just want to show them that you can totally have fun. And I know life might be stressful for your parents and yourself, but it's good to go outside and enjoy.
Tom Kelly: |00:19:38| And what is the value today? I know you guys have a value that you focus on with each ski outing. What's your value today?
Justin: |00:19:45| So today our core value is wisdom. So my goal is to provide or ask the students and see what their definition of wisdom and is. And after that, I'll provide them with my wisdom and tell them, Well, you can do well if they have questions about me for college, I can answer those questions, provide them with resources that they don't really don't know if they have it or not.
Tom Kelly: |00:20:11| Yeah, I love that last question, you've been great, Justin. If you look back over the 10 years that you've been skiing, what has skiing brought to your life is only your first day.
Justin: |00:20:24| It's the only sport that I really do, mostly because I never liked any other sport. So it's the only sport that like, I really love and enjoy. And that brings me happiness, joy. It's fun to hang out with your friends when you're skiing, too. It's just
Tom Kelly: |00:20:41| Really great. Justin, thanks for joining us on Last Chair. Get up in the mountain with your kids and have a great time.
Justin: |00:20:48| Thank you. Thank.
Tom Kelly: |00:21:25| And it was great meeting Justin, he's getting his group together to head up on the hill and now we've got E! She is a participant of the program and he welcome and thank you for joining us on the last year podcast.
E: |00:21:35| Hello, thank you for having me.
Tom Kelly: |00:21:37| You kick it off. Can you just tell us a little bit about yourself?
E: |00:21:41| So as of right now, I am a high school student in Park City High School. I'm in 11th grade. I do go by E. My full name is Emily. And so far I am skiing with the SOS program.
Tom Kelly: |00:21:52| Great. When did you get involved with skiing, actually was the SOS How did you find your way to skiing?
E: |00:21:57| SOS was one of the ways so like back then when I was like in fifth grade, I didn't have like the opportunity or enough money to actually go into SOS or like skiing. But SOS did help with that and it's been affordable and like I have been able to go out and ski even more than I would have had.
Tom Kelly: |00:22:16| Are you the first person in your family to ski?
E: |00:22:18| I am the first person in my family to ski as ...
Tom Kelly: |00:22:20| What does your family think about it?
E: |00:22:21| They kind of find it cool, like they kind of want to try it out now because they see how much I loved it. And like, no, like when it first came about. Like, they were like, Oh, it's so weird. Why do you want to do that?
Tom Kelly: |00:22:33| Like, you know, it's funny. And for our listeners who can't see us here, it's a snowy day here at the base of Park City Mountain. He has this big grin across her face that she's heading out on the slopes here pretty soon. Talk a little bit about what SOS has meant to you and also your friends in the Latinx community.
E: |00:22:52| I mean, like, I think the big major thing was like, it's being affordable. Like because a lot of people within the LatinX community, they can't get enough money to go out and ski because of like, oh, rentals are too expensive and like, who's going to drive them over there? And like, what? Like what type of situations is going to happen? Like, what if my kid can gets injured and I can't do anything about it, as well as like that program where it's like, Oh, not only are people there to like, help mentor you, but like they help you be safe, they teach you like all these valuable lessons about like how to be a great person overall. And it's like community service. It's really big for them because it's like I felt like I wouldn't find the essence of community service unless it was like S.O.S. trying to like get me to reach out there for that.
Tom Kelly: |00:23:37| Yeah. It's a really good point. And I think, you know, one of the things that sport is good with an SOS and even beyond that is the fact that it does teach you real life lessons. And kind of to that point in what is the core value for today?
E: |00:23:52| I believe it is wisdom.
Tom Kelly: |00:23:53| Is it is wisdom. Yes. Tell me a little bit about wisdom and how important that is.
E: |00:23:58| I mean, I feel like wisdom could go from like person to person. But in my opinion, I do believe it's like, oh, like if you were to experience something or like if you were to be, have more knowledge on something that maybe others have been gone through before. Then like giving out your wisdom to them. It's like, oh, giving them a piece of advice or like, Hey, like, I've been through this before, we can help.
Tom Kelly: |00:24:23| Yeah, let's talk about your friends in the LatinX community. You know, have you been able to do outreach to them and get them motivated to also join SOS and get on snow?
E: |00:24:33| I did have a couple of friends come into SOS because they I was talking to them about it. They really do like the program so far. And even then, like with the whole system of like you come in for like five times with us less and then like they give you a pass to go skiing whenever you like. It's been like it's been really big on them and they love going out skiing like just by themselves and like looking at the mountains and like getting experience for it, you know? Cool.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:01| Do you have a favorite run here at Park City Mountain?
E: |00:25:04| I can't really say I have a favorite one. I like all of them, but black diamonds are beyond me.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:10| Have you done some black diamonds?
E: |00:25:12| I have done some black diamonds.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:13| Can you tell us a story about your first black or any black diamond you've done?
E: |00:25:16| Oh, I was so scared of my first time. Like, I look down and I was like, Oh no, I can't do this. I can't do this. Like, this is too much for me. But like one of the mentors were there with me and they kind of like, guided me down into like, how to do the mountain. It's like it's going to be alright, like, you're not like, if you fall, it's going to be OK, and no one's going to judge you for falling. And I feel like after that, I was kind of like, OK, maybe it's not that bad.
Tom Kelly: |00:25:39| Yeah, not that bad, if you look. Last question for you. If you look back at your time skiing, what is it meant to you? Was it meant to your life to be a skier, to be out in the mountains?
E: |00:25:51| Yeah, it's a lot. Like I feel like it does talk about a lot of my personality or like who I become as a person because like skiing has made me more open up to people. And it's like, even then, like skiing has showed me like, it's OK to be afraid of something. It's OK to like, be like, know where your limits are, but don't also be afraid to like, push them sometimes and like, be a better person at that.
Tom Kelly: |00:26:16| I love it. Thank you so much for joining us on Chair. You need to get up a mountain, so get up there.
E: |00:26:21| Thank you so much.
Tom Kelly: |00:26:44| Abbey, welcome back. I had a great talk with Justin and E! They're so pumped to get out there. I think one of the things for me that's exciting and being here at the base of Park City Mountain at First Time chair today is just seeing the excitement in the young men and women, boys and girls who are here and just eager to get out on the hill.
Abbey Eddy: |00:27:02| Definitely, you can feel the energy here. We have about a hundred people who are with SOS today excited walking over to the lift line right now, and it's super exciting to see them as a group together seeing their friends again. We ski together about once a month, so it's once a month that these kids all get to get together with their friends, with their mentors. Often they've been skiing on their own in between, but it's really a special time here to ski with our community.
Tom Kelly: |00:27:28| So everybody's going up on the hill with a mentor today, so they essentially have a mountain guide to guide them around the mountain to share stories and whatever else.
Abbey Eddy: |00:27:36| Exactly. It's an on and off mountain life guide, I would say. And so it's groups of three to five kids with one adult mentor. All of our mentors are volunteers from our local community that want to be sharing this wonderful experience with kids, and it's a really incredible group. Our mentors, they do consistent mentor training throughout the year, and so they're well prepared for anything that comes their way and they become really that additional trusted adult for a lot of these kids that might not have that in another environment.
Tom Kelly: |00:28:07| Really good briefing this morning. It was fun to see the camaraderie, everybody getting together and what? Tell us a little bit about, particularly the closing activity that you do to just bring everybody together.
Abbey Eddy: |00:28:19| Yeah, we do a Circle of Love, it's called. And in that Circle of Love, we talk about our core values of the day. Today's core value is wisdom. And so share opportunities of making sure that kids are out there going to see examples of wisdom that they can share with their groups and then just trying to get everyone hyped up and excited. And again, remember, they're part of this SOS community when they're out there that they know that this is a place for them to really be intentional with creating that inclusive environment and that circle of love does that. And then we get to end it with our SOS tagline. I would say spread the love.
Tom Kelly: |00:28:56| Well, just a couple of things as we close out. First, I want to talk to you about pride. I mean, one of the things that I can see in the kids and particularly in talking to Justin and E, that they have a lot of pride in this program and are really anxious to share it within their Latinx community.
Abbey Eddy: |00:29:09| Definitely. And that again goes back to that intentionality behind making sure that they know this SOS is their own community. It's they have that sense of belonging to us or less that they want to then share out with others. And when we talked about the recruitment of how kids get involved and so often it is through their family, through their friends, through their neighbors, and word of mouth is so important of people saying, I love skiing and I want you to come and experience this with me.
Tom Kelly: |00:29:35| Cool. Last thing you've had a lot of experiences with SOS here over the last five years. Is there any experience that really stands out in your mind? That's really quintessential what this program is about.
Abbey Eddy: |00:29:47| So many I just have incredible memories thinking through and just really some impactful moments. One example that comes to mind and I think thinking through some of the people that you got to talk to today, but E, In particular, she was fairly quiet when I first met her and has really come out of her shell. And at our special ride day last year, we had some of our partners came out from the U.S. Ski Team and from Armada, and they brought videographers and they were filming. And first of all, it just the confidence that that built for kids, that they were skiing alongside some Olympic athletes. Steven Nyman and Brita Sigourney and getting to see that people wanted to film our SOS kids alongside these Olympians. The courage and the confidence that came out of that was just incredible. And all of a sudden kids are saying, Hey, Steven, do you want to race and racing Steven Nyman down the hill? And then at the same time, he told her mentor, Hey, I'm really interested in video art. If you as a career, do you think I could talk to that videographer or the photographer? And then the mentor was able to explain that to me, and then we were able to get on the chairlift and an opportunity to talk to the videographer about that career and how they were able to make that their life path. And it inspired Ian builds that connections. And so that really, to me demonstrates the one, the partnerships that we have to make this possible that we're so grateful to Vail Resorts and Park City Mountain and to our other local partners that allow us to have these opportunities and then the connections that kids can make from taking lessons learned on the mountain outside and into their everyday lives, into their careers, into their schoolwork and things like that, too.
Tom Kelly: |00:31:32| Well, it's an amazing program. Abbey Eddy, thank you so much for joining us on Last Chair, the Ski Utah podcast.
Abbey Eddy: |00:31:37| Thanks, Tom. Great to talk to you.
Tom Kelly: |00:31:39| We're at the base of First Time at Park City Mountain. The kids are heading up right now. It looks like the clouds are breaking, it's going to be a great ski day. Thanks for joining us on this episode of Last Chair.