We're grateful to Stacy Bare for sharing this story with us. It offers up a serious dose of stoke and perspective, and shows that Given'r truly spans cultures and geographic bounds.
In ski towns and communities around North America and Europe, and certainly within our circles of friends who head to the mountains in the winter time to ski and shred, we like to throw around the word commitment and committed.
“That’s a committed line.”
“It takes commitment to ski 100 days a year.”
Give’r is a brand founded on the notion of giving it your all—and when I responded to their email asking me how I liked their gloves with enthusiasm and sharing my ski plans for the year—they responded quickly with an offer to help however they could.
So it was that this past February I packed up the best ski gloves I’ve ever known, and a few beanie hats and a hoodie from Give’r, along with the rest of my ski gear, and headed with a couple of buddies to make a ski film in Afghanistan.
I served in the US Army from 2000-07 and had deployments in Iraq, Bosnia, and elsewhere—but never made it over to Afghanistan. The people I knew who had deployed there though all came back with stories of epic mountain peaks. This was the year I was finally able to make my visit happen. I’ll be going back.
The skiers we met in Afghanistan redefine terms like committed and embody the message that Give’r is putting out into the world.
Without tele boots, would you modify a pair of old donated tele skis and tele bindings to work as alpine skis?
Without skins, would you wrap a couple of old knotted ropes around your skis to climb uphill for a few fresh powder turns?
Without a lift, would you pop the tire off of your motorcycle to rig up a rope tow for the local kids using a buried wheel barrow on the uphill side of things?
Without skis, would you split a couple of 2x4s, nail in some plastic, and fashion old bean cans into bindings for the chance to go fast downhill on an icy trail?
In Afghanistan, where a group of skiers had to take two or three backcountry ‘laps’ to get to the Afghan Ski Challenge, the race we wanted to cover for a short documentary we’ll put out this fall, the answer to all of these questions is yes.
These folks are committed to the core to experience the freedom, the joy, and the absolute stoke we know skiing can bring.
It was an incredible experience, one that I’ll no doubt be processing for a good long while—and working to take a lot of what we learned, and a lot of what we see is needed for the Afghan ski community, and put it into action.
Afghanistan is part of our larger global ski community. The more we can help promote skiing, the more we can spread the stoke, and the more we can spread the stoke, the more we can build bridges of understanding between people and cultures that have historically had a horrific time of figuring out how to get along.
And, yes, I know that there are limits to what stoke can do in the world, but I’ve found that if we start with stoke, we can get just about anywhere.
See you out there.