Step 1: Provide Gear
Are Skis and Snowboards Humanitarian Goods?
Well, no, they’re not food, shelter, medicine or school books.
But, if you live in a country that is 95% mountainous, that is often referred to as the Switzerland of Central Asia, and that already has over a dozen existing ski resorts, is it really so crazy to view a pair of skis as an essential tool ... not only for survival but for prosperity?
As you travel the world, you’ll notice that the people with the best jobs often work in tourism. And many of those jobs are related to outdoor adventure. Yet, in third-world countries, outdoor sports equipment is nearly impossible to come by, and when it is available, it’s completely unaffordable to the local people.
Now hop on a plane to the United States, look around, and outdoor gear is in abundance. Garages are filled with snowboards, bikes, climbing shoes, etc. These items are seen as our toys, not as essential tools to put food on the table. In some parts of the world, like Kyrgyzstan, our “toys” are much more valuable. They are a source of greater opportunity.
Let’s take this one step further and ask a deeper question:
Who would benefit most from access to these tools?
Our answer: Children.
As Kyrgyz local, Hayat Tarikov, explains, “Kids have no fear. They can ski better than adults. If we teach them at a young age, they will be future guides of Kyrgyzstan!”
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, and a few angels in the ski community, we have donated enough ski and snowboard equipment to outfit at least 30 children, plus a few split board setups for the local guides.
Step 2: Provide Training
We strongly believe in giving people the tools they need to accomplish their goals, so they don’t have to rely on outsiders.
Knowledge and training are the most valuable tools we can share.
In addition to proper equipment, the Kyrgyz people also need proper training to build a self- sustaining local snow sports industry.
If finding equipment is difficult, you can imagine how challenging it is to find local people who know how to use the equipment. It’s harder still to find local men and women who have the medical training and outdoor expertise to sustain, for example, a successful backcountry ski tour company.
That’s why part of our project is focused on enhancing the knowledge of the local Arslanbob team.
We have a physician on our team who will share basic medical, first aid and wilderness medicine techniques with the local guides and villagers of Arslanbob.
We have an AMGA-certified ski guide on our team who is an AIARE Level III Avalanche Forecaster and a Level I Course Instructor. He will lead trainings for the local guides.
Ski & Snowboard Lessons
We have a professional skier and a certified AASI snowboard instructor on our team who will each teach the local children to ski and snowboard.
Intensive Training and Testing
We will spend one month providing training and testing on these key skills to give the local community a strong foundation upon which they can continue to build.