2018 K2 Women’s Weekend Farewell Message 10 years and $100,000 – that was our lofty 2018 goal to help women and men in our community and in New Mexico by raising money to benefit the Anita Salas Memorial Fund. The Anita Salas Memorial Fund and our friend Diane DaCamara, who helps administer the fund and drives up from Albuquerque each year to support the effort, provide financial assistance for breast and cervical cancer services incurred by New Mexican women and men. Funds are used for diagnostic, treatment, or physician services, co-pays and deductibles, gas reimbursement and other related services for cancer treatment such as childcare, medications, and lodging if travel is required for treatment.
I am so very proud to say that even though the goal was lofty, thanks to you, we met it! With your dedicated support, we raised over $25,000 this year, surpassing our goal! This unprecedented amount was in part due to a single benefactor, Lois Gardner, who donated $10,000. It is with deep sadness that Lois has moved beyond us to greater things. She will be missed by many and live through those she touched.
In the summer of 2008, I was approached by David Gardner, K2 ski rep, ski aficionado, Taos ski instructor, and dear friend who helped teach me to ski in 2005. He had an idea - an organized weekend of skiing for women at Pajarito. However, he firmly believed that it should be organized by a woman for women, which is where I came in. From that seed, we soon developed the initial concept of the K2 Women’s Weekend and decided that our efforts could benefit the community beyond providing a forum to share our passion for skiing. It would be a fundraiser. David suggested that his, and now my, dear friend Carolyn Hall Young, who battled multiple cancers over the past 20 years, would be our first spokesperson toward a greater cause. It was Carolyn who brought the Anita Salas Memorial Fund to our attention as a beneficiary.
To meet Carolyn is to be changed forever. Here is just a glimpse of how she lived life: “I have serious damage to my heart and lungs. They kind of treat me like a rock star at the oncologist's office, because I do keep on going. I have a collapsed lower left lobe, DVTs, blood clots and a torso that looks like a road map from veins and scars. I should be on oxygen, actually, right now. This quote comes from Joan Baez: ‘You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live now.’”
Carolyn continues, “I admire each of you for stepping up to be a part of this great adventure we're going to have this weekend. I want you to choose hope over fear, chance success by attempting something you've never done before. Have fun, be big, and be bold. Enjoy your great bodies. Expand your horizons. Feed your passions. Fall down and get back up for another round. It's all about what is possible with a little help from your friends.”
David and I weren’t sure what sort of reception the idea would have, but we were going to find out. I set about creating and organizing what I thought would be a fun weekend. That inaugural year, registration opened in December and we had 50 women register and raised $2600. The next year, we more than doubled that amount raising $6500, and the year after, we hit $10,000 – a year that PM closed early due to insufficient snow. We skied Taos instead and had a fabulous time! Since then, our annual mission has been to raise $10,000 annually for the Anita Salas Memorial Fund. In 2018, our 10th year, we raised $25,000, which makes $100,000 in 10 years! Wow!
You don’t have to be a seasoned skier to enjoy the Women’s Weekend at Pajarito Mountain. Our mission during the Women’s Weekend at Pajarito Mountain, an annual not-for-profit event, is three-fold: to raise $10,000 annually to provide financial assistance to women and men in New Mexico who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancers, to encourage women skiers to improve their skills and explore their limits in snow sports, and to make new friends with similar interests.
None of this would have been possible without the support of our community and the women who participated making this one of the most fun events of the season. Many have supported our efforts each and every year and should feel this accomplishment as their own. Thank you to our sponsors: Pajarito Mountain, Tom Long, Pajarito Ski School and Pajarito Ski Patrol, K2 Sports and Ross Welke K2 Representative, Maridell Nochumson, Lou Santoro State Farm Agent, RockSmith, Laura Crucet and the Pig-n-Fig, Taos Ski Valley and Adriana Blake, KRSN, LAMC, LANB, Glenn Magelssen, CB Fox, Andean Software, Taos Boot Doctor, Le Ski Mastery, Ojo Caliente, Bathtub Row Brewing Coop, Susan Grubb, Sarah Gustafson, Melanie Hand, Stephanie Hagelberg, Kathy Brooks, Lori Erickson, Molly Hogan, Petra Pirc, Kim Lazarus, Bennett’s, Alpine Sports, Don Taylor, Hilltop House, Running Hub, Trader Joe’s, SPAesthetics, Second Street Brewery, and Jeff Hylok Photography.
Thank you doesn’t even begin to describe the gratitude and affection I feel for David Gardner, Lois Gardner, Carolyn Hall Young, Warren Young, Diane DaCamara, Anita Salas, our Los Alamos and Northern New Mexico supporters, and the Women of Pajarito: Susan Brockway, Renida Carter, Molly Cernicek, Kim Lazarus, Andrea Pistone, and Raeanna Sharp-Geiger - thank you ladies for being there with me all the way and helping make all this happen! Finally I thank Scott, Esme and Eowyn for their unwavering support over the years, long days, late nights, packing swag bags, and participating in The Weekend that helped me fulfill the calling that began 10 years ago with a friendship and an idea.
Life is taking us in different directions now. To grow we must make space for change and let go. It is with sadness and expectation that we announce this was our last year hosting the K2 Women’s Weekend at Pajarito Mountain. I want to thank everyone for making this event a success for 10 years, for the opportunity to get to know so many of you, and to share my passion for skiing and helping others.
Copyright 2013. Women's Weekend at Pajarito Mountain. All rights reserved.