Riding Steamboat with SOS

07 Feb, 2009

I had the opportunity to spend Saturday on snow taking photos and video with the SOS (Snowboard Outreach Society) of Steamboat. SOS is a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers to build character and self-esteem in youth. The best part is they do it through snowboarding, giving the chance for kids to learn how to snowboard and continue to snowboard.  The Steamboat SOS handles 28 kids for the snowboarding program.  

My friend Amy works with the program for Steamboat, she is always talking about it and works really hard for it. She’s tried to get me to volunteer but I can’t commit to doing it since I travel during the winter but I send my leftover gear to Amy to use for the kids each year. I agreed to come out today to get some photos of the kids in different groups and help put together a video for her.

I showed up at 9:30am as the kids and instructors were getting ready to start the day.

Getting the kids ready and out the door was quite the effort
They start the day in a circle to discuss the 5 core values of SOS. Today’s core value was compassion and throughout the day they discussed this in snowboarding.

I spent the morning with Philip’s group. Philip is the most hardworking snowboarder in Steamboat: he manages the Click, he volunteers for SOS and he teaches for the mountain. His SOS group were the advanced kids that have been in the program for a couple years and are riders that can handle the mountain, kids you just have a lot of fun riding with.

It was a beautiful day in the morning, bluebird skies and freshly groomed runs to just bomb down.Philip’s group was amazing, the kids were awesome shredders and could handle any of the runs we went on. It wasn’t hard to photograph them riding down the hill.

Chantelle coming down
Kyle carving it up down low
Philip laying down the carves
We enjoyed the fun groomers near Sunshine, working on butters and carving. I switched up boards with Anna to ride her Burton and she could try out my NS lotus with reverse camber. She had a blast riding it and really was laying over the carves on it.

On our way down to lunch, we headed to the Rabbit Ears Terrain Park.

Philip 50-50ing box
At the bottom ran into some of the SOS girls for a photo op
In the afternoon I met up with Stefanie’s group to take photo and video.

Stephanie’s group were still learning to snowboard and this was their 5th time on the slopes so we headed to the top of Christie Peak to get them riding.
I ride Christie a lot but I haven’t rode it with beginners in a while, it was interesting to go slow with them and see what it’s like to be on the runs as a beginner off Christie Peak. A lot of cat tracks and narrow trails that as a beginner, are harder to get through.

When we got to the wider open trails, the kids did a lot better and worked on making turns on steeper terrain with no one around them.
At the bottom, we met up with the other beginner group. Here’s a photo of both groups with kids that only 5 weeks ago had never snowboarded before.
Making turns on Stampede

I left Stefanie’s group to join Scott’s group to get photographs of them and video of them getting down Stampede.
By the time we got down it was time to give back the Burton Learn to Ride equipment to the rental shops and get ready for the SOS Graduation ceremony. I had time to take two laps through the superpipe before the ceremony began so I got my own 2 laps in for the day of riding for me.

Each of the SOS sessions last 5 weeks and on the last day is the graduation. The parents come out, the instructors talk about each of the kids and how they did and they walk away with a certificate and SOS beanie.

Amy handing out the first certificate
The parents there to cheer on their kids
Lots of kids graduating from the SOS program
As the graduation winded down, it was a sea of SOS beanies on the kids

By the end of the day I was tired but really amped to have gotten to tag along with SOS and check out what they do and how they kids appreciate it. The volunteer instructors really put forth the effort to get these kids into snowboarding and into respecting each other while having fun.

I’m still working on the photographs and the video, lots of editing to be done but can’t wait to see how it comes out.

To learn more about SOS please check out http://www.sosoutreach.org/

SOS is always looking for more volunteers or donations. Even snowboard gear that these kids could use would be a great donation to the program.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. BigNolDogg
    February 09, 2009

    Really cool story, Thanks Shay!