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The Vertical Challenge has always hoped to have a positive impact on the young racers who participate on tour. That impulse stemmed from founder Frank Tansey’s desire to pay forward the guidance he had received from caring adults when he was a young person finding his way.

Winter fitness, the fun of competition, and quality time with family/friends are benefits inimical to the event. In addition, our crew looks to mentor children at the events and build their self-worth.

We also wanted to find a way to extend the benefits of the Vertical Challenge beyond the event itself. That’s why we added a partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We knew the Make-A-Wish families truly needed support in their journeys through illness. Research shows children who have a wish granted build the physical and emotional strength they need to fight a critical illness, giving them a higher quality of life and better health outcomes. That seemed an ideal fit with our mission, so we embraced the cause.

Sponsors donate prizes for the raffles we hold at every event. Multiple winners at every tour stop go home excited about the stuff they’d won and the cause they’d helped. Proceeds from our raffle and other sponsor contributions have often totaled in the neighborhood of $15,000 for the season, with those funds targeted to the specific MAW chapters in the regions of the resorts we visit.

We also involve our young tour competitors, creating a system by which they could raise money themselves at their homes and schools.  The children learn about empathy and helping those who can’t join them at the slopes, and they feel a sense of achievements when they make a donation at the tour finals. “Kids helping kids” is the way we like to phrase it. It’s part of our goal to make sure the VC represents more than just a winter sporting event for the whole family. We want it to positively affect its participants in ways that could last a lifetime.


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