Max Mancini, Extreme Colorado Skier
Colorado native Max Mancini has turned personal tragedy into a new sense of purpose. After a car accident took the lives of his girlfriend and unborn son, he co-founded Life Turns, a nonprofit that provides children living with significant illness and/or challenging life circumstances the opportunity to enjoy a fun and transformative week of play and adventure in the mountains. Born and raised in Crested Butte, Colo., Max is still seeking out new extreme skiing challenges on the slopes, filming with the legendary Warren Miller on a regular basis.
Why Colorado Skiing is the Best: Colorado has so much to offer winter sports athletes or enthusiasts. For me the best part of skiing in Colorado is the amount of varying terrain from the Huge San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado to the Jagged West Elk Mountains and up to northern Colorado in Steamboat where the snow is unbelievably light. It is great to be able to find a place with so much versatility that can provide great terrain for a skier of any level.
Max’s Personal Favorite Colorado Skiing Experience: Crested Butte because the mountain is always challenging me. I grew up skiing there, and with the amount of extreme limits terrain that is available I never get bored. No matter what I am in the mood for or who I am skiing with there is always something for everyone. On top of that there is an incredible sense of community and great backcountry skiing just outside my door.
His Most Memorable Colorado Skiing Experience: I have to say that I have had some crazy experiences in the mountains in Colorado, but what sticks out most for me is actually last season filming for Warren Miller Entertainment at Silverton Mountain. We had a couple of days using a helicopter to get to the top of the lines, and it was so cool to be dropped off on the top of a 2,500-3,000-foot descent in a bunch of chaos, as the heli is kicking up snow and wind everywhere. You climb out and hunker down and it just takes off, leaving you on top of an incredible mountain with your buddies in near silence with the best views in the state. As the heli leaves, there is total calm and silence, then you get the call over the radio and the adrenaline rush comes back as you drop into a steep line with huge consequences. There was some avalanche control work that had to be done so our guide would go up in the heli and toss out 50-lb. bombs on the slope that we were about to ski.
On his Charity Organization, Life Turns, and the Rossignol Freeheel Pro Model Ski He Helped Develop: Both Life Turns and my Pro Model ski came about after significant challenges I experienced with health and well being. In September of 2007, I was involved in a very tragic car accident that took my girlfriend and unborn son. (Read the full story: http://espn.go.com/action/freeskiing/news/story?id=4527311&test=true ) Basically this event gave me an energy to give back and to do something more with my life than ski, this is how Life Turns was created.
We give children faced with serious life challenges a chance to be kids. So often these children are forced into situations that cause them to be more mature so we provide a positive experience while giving them something fun and exciting to remember and hold on to during difficult times. The camp consists of about 10 campers per session which will last one week. We rent a big house up at the ski area so everyone is under one roof, where we cook family style meals and have a bunch of games and team building exercises. The daily activities include: team building, dog sledding, sledding, cooking, snowshoeing, igloo building, arts and crafts, with an overall goal of skiing and snowboarding. Because Crested Butte sits at 9000 ft we take the first few days to get acclimated with all of the activities other than skiing and snowboarding and then head up to the mountain for 3-4 days on the slopes.
The ski is officially called the "System S7 Pro Mancini," or "The System" for short. It all came about as a way to give back. I approached Rossignol about this idea of the first ever freeheel pro-model ski where I want to donate all of my royalties to charity. Rossignol saw what I was doing and decided to match my donation making approximately $83 for every pair sold a donation to Life Turns. It is so cool to work with a company that is leading the ski industry and is able to make decisions that can positively influence the ski community and other companies as well as truly helping children in need.
When He’s Off The Slopes: Kayaking and mountain biking are my main summer activities, but I also love to go backpacking and rafting. Colorado has such a diverse range of landscapes and it is so easy to walk out your door and escape everyday routine. There is no other place that can compare.
What Max Loves About Denver: Denver is such a cool city because it is so close to the mountains but you are also able to get that "big" city feel. When I come to Denver I bring my mountain bike, and kayak, but what gets me the most excited is to spend a little time in a city, while having all of the outdoor activities that I have at home. The Denver Art Museum is always a great stop, Confluence Park has some fun kayaking and the surrounding foothills always have exciting trails to hike or ride. Then it's off to visit a few bars in LoDo or to the PS lounge, and definitely breakfast at Snooze, one of my favorites! And Of course you can't forget your skis, the mountains are right there, with some of the best terrain parks in the world.
Learn more about Max's Life Turns charity at www.LifeTurns.org.