A warm, sunny day of skiing was being threatened by a sharp breeze that spun flakes through the air, but the imposing clouds wouldn’t wipe the smiles off of a group of athletes this St. Patrick’s Day.
Local sports figures and former athletes gathered at Snowbird Ski Resort on March 17 to raise funds for special needs children and adults in partnership with the Forever Young Foundation and Wasatch Adaptive Sports.
The Forever Young Foundation, a charity organization started by Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, has helped with the event for 26 years.
Many former athletes and local sports figures come out in support of the event. This year former athletes and local public figures such as Lee Johnson, Chris Waddell, Mark Eaton, Kyle Whittingham, and Haloti Ngata attended the event.
“The event is amazing, what they offer these young men and women who couldn’t do it without this equipment,” said Lee Johnson, former BYU and NFL kicker.
Many of the athletes spoke of how much of an impact a simple act of kindness can bring the recipients of the funds.
“It’s the parents of the young kids, because the kids really respond to getting the independence of being on the mountain, so the parents are just so grateful, because of the difference it makes in the kids life,” Young said.
The event helps raise the patients’ spirits as well, with the athletes racing down the mountain against the patients. The slalom course presents a few turns before finishing amid a chorus of cheers from those gathered.
“I came in a strong second in my races,” said Edwin Mulitalo, a former NFL lineman with the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens. “It was a fun race, going against Dustin [one of the patients], but he beat me.”
The evening capped off with a silent and live auction, awards, dinner and a participant program. The live and silent auctions included international vacations, ski packages and more.