For over 33 years Jans has been a part of the local Park City community. That’s pretty refreshing in a day and age when big box stores seem to dominate the retail landscape. Walk into any of our locations and you’ll not only be greeted with a smile but, if you visit often enough, our Experts will likely greet you by name.
Being a local business is the foundation of what Jans is all about and that means giving back to the community where we live, work, and play. And so, while the holiday season is admittedly one of the busiest for our stores, it’s also a time when we like to take a moment to shine a light on some of the non-profit organizations that we support.
As you’re perusing our website looking for that perfect gift for a loved one, or even yourself, take a moment to consider donating to one of Jans’ local non-profit partners. Read on for some worthy causes that support everything from disabled ski programs to honoring returning veterans or conserving our fragile rivers. After all, it’s the spirit of giving that is the true meaning of the season.
Youth Sports Alliance
Founded in response to the number of Olympic venues created for the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA) ensures that a wide range of winter sports are accessible to kids in the Park City community. Last year, their “Get Out & Play” program introduced over 1,000 elementary students to not only skiing and snowboarding, but also Nordic ski jumping, cross country skiing, speed skating and hockey, to name only a few.
And that’s just the beginning. YSA also recognizes that the cost of participating in winter sports is often prohibitive for junior athletes who aspire to compete on a national level. That’s why the organization also provides scholarships to help kids achieve their dreams. The program is so successful that many of Park City’s home-grown athletes, such as Ted Ligety and Sarah Hendrickson, have gone on compete on the World Cup circuit and in the Olympics.
Jans believes so strongly in the need to cultivate kids’ love of winter sports that we’ve partnered with the Youth Winter Sports Alliance to spearhead the Jans Winter Welcome. The annual fundraiser, now in its 34th year, brings together local businesses, athletes, the community and the kids who are pursuing winter sports. The 2014 event generated over $500,000 and featured Olympians such as moguls’ skier Shannon Bahrke, speed skater Derek Parra, freestyler Joss Christensen, and Nordic combined athletes Taylor and Bryan Fletcher.
If you’d like to be a part of YSA’s commitment to winter sports for kids, please consider donating to the Get Out & Play Program or the Jans Winter Welcome.
National Ability Center
In 1985, Russ Coburn, our President and CEO, and Jan Peterson himself, helped Meeche White create the Park City Handicapped Sports Association by providing rental skis to families of skiers with disabilities. The intent was to give folks with disabilities the chance to experience skiing with their family right by their side. As the organization expanded into other sports, the name was changed to the National Ability Center (NAC), and Jans started providing not only skis, but also gear and services for all the sports that we represent.
“To say the least, the National Ability Center is a little close to my heart,” says Russ. “Jans and White Pine have been taking care of the NAC in any way we can, from biking and Nordic skiing to climbing and snowboarding, since 1985.” Most recently Jans provided technical support for the 2014 Summit Challenge, a road bike ride sponsored by the NAC that included veterans from the Wounded Warriors Project and other people with disabilities. Three-wheeled bikes, low-slung bikes, and even good old two-wheeled bikes, were serviced by our expert bike mechanics as they replaced tires, rims and parts.
Russ sums up the reason that Jans feels so strongly about the NAC. “It’s identical to why we support able-bodied programs. Anybody who loves the outdoors, Jans will do anything and everything to help them enjoy the outdoors for life,” he says.
Help the National Ability Center continue to create recreation opportunities such as alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing by sponsoring a team or becoming a snow angel (giving a one-time donation.)
Continue Mission, a new non-profit based in Salt Lake City, is striving to improve the quality of life for military service members and their families by helping them enjoy nature, recreation and the camaraderie of other veterans. Sergeant Josh Hansen, U.S. Army (Ret.) and Laura Cantin co-founded Continue Mission after Josh lost soldiers from his own unit in the war and more to suicide after returning home. The organization’s goal is to offer activities that will get returning veterans out of the house and on a path to health and wellness.
To help them experience the beauty of Nordic skiing, the White Pine Nordic Center offers registered members of Continue Mission free Nordic passes for the 2014/2015 season. And while Continue Mission will organize weekly Nordic sessions in Park City, members will be encouraged to visit our groomed track as many times as they’d like. Rental equipment will also be provided to those who have never skied before.
“We want to help returning veterans integrate back into civilian life, and since we are a Nordic Center and skiers ourselves, this is the activity that we can share to help in that effort,” says Patrick Coffey, White Pine Nordic Center Director. “I cannot imagine what some of these returning soldiers have experienced, but I can hope to share with them the sport that brings me so much happiness and inner peace,” he adds.
If you’d like to support Continue Mission, either with time, donations, or as a participant, contact the organization directly.
Utah Avalanche Center
In addition to selling and renting traditional ski equipment and apparel, Jans also sells backcountry equipment that allows our more adventurous customers the chance to recreate in the backcountry. Climbing skins, touring skis, bindings and poles, split boards, and, most importantly, avalanche safety equipment, are all available on jans.com and at White Pine Touring, one of our retail stores.
And this is why Jans and White Pine have a long-standing partnership with the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC), a Forest Service/non-profit partnership that is primarily funded by donations. In addition to providing daily avalanche forecasting for the backcountry, the UAC also offers valuable education opportunities on how to avoid being caught in an avalanche. Their “Know Before You Go” program is a simplified, one-hour avalanche awareness presentation, offered at no cost to groups or schools. The Center also teaches one-day field classes and rescue classes that are shorter than those offered by White Pine Touring. In fact, many of our certified avalanche instructors are also actively involved in the UAC.
“We help the UAC keep doing what they’re doing,” says Scott House, Jans’ Communications, Events and Social Media Director. “It’s something that any ski shop in a mountain town should be doing. If you are selling the gear and apparel that allows people to explore the backcountry, then it is your obligation to support efforts that help keep those people safe when they are using that gear.”
To show your support of the Utah Avalanche Center and the importance of staying safe in the backcountry, visit their website to learn about their Endowment Fund and other ways to give.
Jans has been a proud partner with our local Trout Unlimited (TU) chapter, High Country Fly Fishers, for over 15 years. Even though our company started as a small ski shop, it was Jan Peterson’s passion for fly fishing that helped the business evolve into a multi-season outdoor sports retailer. As a result, conserving and protecting our rivers and fisheries is important to us, which is where Trout Unlimited and High Country Fly Fishers come in.
Jans supports High Country Fly Fishers river cleanup efforts in addition to “Project Healing Waters,” a program that teaches wounded veterans the art of fly fishing. And Jans fly fishing guides donate their time to host an annual women’s-only fly fishing clinic offered in Park City every spring. This three-day introductory course includes a classroom session on fly fishing basics, casting instruction, and a half-day guided trip.
“It’s fun to see women go from never holding a fly rod, to catching their first fish. It’s pretty neat to be a part of,” says Chris Wistner, Jans Fly Shop Manager. “And our partnership with TU creates a great platform to help facilitate conservation and education of our most prized resources.”
To help Trout Unlimited and High Country Fly Fishers preserve our rivers and provide education opportunities to those interested in the sport of fly fishing, please consider either becoming a member or making a donation.
So as you prepare for the holidays, add some meaning to the season by supporting one of these worthy causes. It will connect you with Park City in a whole new way and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your part to make a difference
Liz Yokubison, Senior Editor