Letter: SOS Outreach community connects youth to the mountains

It was 30 years ago in the Rocky Mountains that an idea was born, an idea that brought forward the power of sliding down a mountain on snow to create real and lasting change. That idea was SOS Outreach and the result was connecting youth to the mountains, to snowsports and to their community.

Since that start, we’ve developed a multi-year mentoring program to empower kids and teenagers to discover their true potential. We believe that the outdoors is a space for everyone and are here to show youth that they belong. Through skiing or riding for the first time, participants form a strong relationship with an adult mentor that evolves into off-hill experiences which foster a sense of belonging, skill development, and character building for long-term impact. 

As the recipient of this year’s Colorado Snowsports Museum’s Top of the Hill Award, an acknowledgement of our influence in the ski industry, I want to dedicate this recognition to our entire SOS Outreach community. To the thousands of families, parents, volunteers, mentors, instructors, teachers, counselors, mountain resorts, manufacturers, retailers and donors — this award is for you.

We have proven what happens when you gather together around an idea and a shared purpose. Together, we do much more than introduce youth to skiing/riding; we build connections that transform trajectories. 

As I reflect on the last 30 years, I think about all of the kids who have been connected to resources through SOS Outreach and, as a result, are thriving. We’ve ensured our teenagers have opportunities to stay connected to this community through careers in the industry and support to participate in this sport that they love. Our kids are exceptional and continue to inspire me. 

To all of you, know the impact that you can have when doing something that you love.

Seth Ehrlich

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