The crew celebrates a great day on the Fu - Pauli on the left, with his daughter and son.

The dust (or perhaps it's more appropriate to call it wet, heavy snow) has officially settled on the 7th annual "Get Up & Get Down to Get Kids Out" GOALS Vertical Challenge ski-a-thon.  With the event in the rear-view, it's time to offer some thanks and give some well-deserved recognition to everyone who made the event a smashing success for GOALS and the kids we serve!

Recognizing our sponsors.
First - special thanks to our sponsors - without whom the Vertical Challenge could not occur.  Big thanks to The Competition Center at Winter Park Resort for hosting, and for making the on-snow portion of the Vertical Challenge ski-a-thon as simple as possible from start to finish.  Additionally, we couldn't log vertical feet without the support of our friends at FLAIK, who've generously provided trackers and IT staff to help set up and monitor their tracking devices each of the past 7 years. 

An added addition to this year's event was an Elan demo tent sponsored and staffed by our friends from Boone Mountain Sports right here in Evergreen, Colorado.  In addition to their support of GOALS through the "1% for Kids on Rivers" campaign, Boone is going above and beyond the enhance our events and improve the experience for those who participate.  To them, we offer a very sincere thanks!

At the end of the event, it's important to GOALS that we send our top fundraisers home with prizes.  This year, people left with smiles on their faces and great loot in their arms thanks to the generosity of Never Summer Industries, MTI Adventure Wear, GoPro, The Denver Zoo, Earth Trex, Moab Jett, The Blue Quill Angler, Icelantic Skis, Echo Mountain, and Mountainsmith.  Thank you for helping GOALS reward our most valuable fundraisers!

Recognizing the fundraising efforts of the 2017 team.
Most of all, it's important to thank the dedicated team who raised money and skied until their quads were screaming at this year's event.  A team of just 33 dedicated members this year raised $32,875 (and counting...there's still time to donate to your favorite team member HERE!)  That's just short of $,1000 raised on average per team member - almost TWICE the average raised per person in our first 6 years of the Vertical Challenge.  Absolutely incredible.  Of course, it helps that their donors also stepped up to the plate in an unprecedented fashion this year.  The total raised came from just 376 donors, meaning that the average donation in this year's Vertical Challenge was over $87 - another all-time high!  If you're reading this and had anything to do with these incredible averages, we thank you for your remarkable generosity and support of our mission. 

While individual efforts are honorable, we must also recognize the Paul Graham Memorial Scholarship Team.  For the 2nd year in a row, Paul's loved ones have raised money through the Vertical Challenge to ensure that his legacy lives on in the heart of kids who experience a GOALS expedition - and want to ensure that cost is not a barrier for any child to participate.  Due in large parts to their 2016 success at the GOALS Vertical Challenge, no child who requested financial aid through GOALS to help cover the costs of their expedition was denied.  By raising well over $5,000 again in 2017, they're helping GOALS make the same statement two years in a row. 

The fundraising leader board for the 7th annual GOALS Vertical Challenge:

1. Molly Hochmuth...........$4,500
2. Brett Hochmuth...........$3,040
3. Michele Steed...............$2,905
4. Richard Greene.............$2,610
5. Kristin Hochmuth..........$2,545
6. The Evans Family..........$1,925
7. Finley Steed....................$1,500
8. Ben Shay........................$1,335
9. Megan Smith................$1,200
10. Todd Hochmuth..........$1,190
11.  Michael Rispoli............$1,170
 

12. Kevin Zegan......................$855
13. Haley Munson...................$855
14. Kristina Hesbol..................$780
15. Hannah Smith....................$715
16. Tim Leake............................$705
17. Emma Leake.......................$520
18. Justin Ogorek......................$510
19. McKenzie Goldsmith..........$470
20. Cal Cherry..........................$435
21. David Parker........................$415
22. Michael Skladanowski......$375

23. Quinn Hart..................................$365
24. Nuala Hart..................................$335
25. Bart & Patty Pinkham................$320
26. Liliana Woodman.......................$270
27. Nick and Larisa Hoffman..........$250
28. Sarah O'Rourke...........................$250
29. Sam Williamson...........................$165
30. Nicole Burris.................................$125
31. Jeff Shaw........................................$120
32. Lydia Heasley...............................$75
33. Christopher Canning...................$25


In addition to the fundraising efforts our team worked so hard on leading up to the event, we'd also like to recognize our top skiers - who fought wet, slushy spring conditions to come up with the following impressive vertical feet totals:

The VERTICAL FEET leader board for the 7th annual GOALS Vertical Challenge:

 

1. Megan Smith......................49,791'
2. Tim Leake...........................40,475'
3. McKenzie Goldsmith.........38,154'
4. Sam Williamson.................37,973'
5. Emma Leake.......................37,892'
6. Lydia Heasley.....................36,600'
7. Jackson Crumpacker...........36,330'
8. Alan Crumpacker................35,739'
9. Zephyr Lift #130.................28,948'
10. Eric Ginter...........................23,630'
11.  Logan Ginter......................23,212'
12. Richard Greene..................22,084'
13. Jacy Woodman..................21,800'
14. Cal Cherry..........................21,771'
15. Laura Smith.......................21,744'
16. Hannah Smith...................21,550'
17. Maya Hochmuth...............18,995'
18. Kaitlyn Ginter.....................18,683'
19. Liliana Woodman.............17,802'
20. Alex Heaton.....................17,356'
21. Kai Hoffman......................16,512'
22. Finley Steed.......................15,873'
23. David Parker......................15,758'
24. Molly Hochmuth...............15,249'
25. Brett Hochmuth.................14,039'
26. Sage York...........................13,929'
27. Quinn Hart.........................12,827'
28. Nuala Hart........................12,499'
29. Eli Hoffman........................12,255'
30. Michele Steed....................11,789'
31. Stella York............................11,175'
32. Tom Hart.............................10,412'
33. Nick Hoffman....................9,065'
34. Haley Munson...................8,846'
35. Todd Hochmuth................8,098'
36. Harper Hochmuth............6,792'
37. John Steed..........................5,437'
38. Scott York...........................1,454'
39. Kristina Hesbol..................1,299'
40. Riley Boone........................1,298'
41. Kristin Hochmuth...............1,086'
42. Larisa Hoffman...................959'


TOTAL TEAM VERTICAL FEET: 777,160

147 vertical miles covered on skis and snowboards!

Tim (top male 2017 skier) and Emma Leake (GOALS graduate who has become one of our finest teacher leaders) - taking a break from skiing for a family photo.

Tim (top male 2017 skier) and Emma Leake (GOALS graduate who has become one of our finest teacher leaders) - taking a break from skiing for a family photo.

OARLOCK Award winner Ben Shay tries to gain some vertical feet in spite of an injured foot that prevented him from skiing.  "A" for effort, Ben - but those feet don't count. 

OARLOCK Award winner Ben Shay tries to gain some vertical feet in spite of an injured foot that prevented him from skiing.  "A" for effort, Ben - but those feet don't count. 

 

In closing, the Vertical Challenge ski-a-thon represents many of the core principles at GOALS - including strong community; active, outdoor lifestyles with a focus on recreation, and over-existing...doing more than you thought was possible.  With less than a month remaining until our first expedition of the 2017 river season launches into Westwater Canyon of the Colorado River, our focus is shifting immediately to program prep - but that focus won't prevent us from reflecting on the efforts of so many whose support of the GOALS mission through the 7th annual Vertical Challenge ski-a-thon makes our programs possible.  Thanks so much to everyone who was involved - we're looking forward to honoring your efforts by shaping young lives on wild rivers!