Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

The definition of a “cohort” is a collection of people who share characteristics or experiences over time. It’s one of many descriptions of us skiers and riders. We seek and revel in the mountain life and its experiences and invite others to share in our reverie. Our life view is expansive, embracing all.

Giving back to others is deeply embedded in the psyche of skiers and riders, and an active part of our mountain ethos. Sometimes all it takes is someone or a group of skiers and riders gathering to have an impact.

In February 2023, residents and businesses in Tamarack and Boise did just that, by honoring a beloved cohort with a huge and fund-raising effort to help feed the less privileged in Idaho.

The Idaho Foodbank reports that nearly nine percent of the state’s population, including more than 46,000 children, face food insecurity. Nearly 7,000 Idaho seniors are at risk of not getting enough to eat, which leads to exacerbating health issues.

In 2022, The Idaho Foodbank provided 27.2 million pounds of food, enough for 22.6 million meals, enough for about 184,000 people per month.  Managers say they can provide four meals for every dollar donated. It takes the combined efforts of farmers, food product manufacturers, distributors, community organizations, government, and individual citizens to make this happen.

The food bank fundraiser was to honor the memory of Larry Gebert.  It was the idea of Dan and Kathy Boespflug, Tamarack locals.  Dan and Larry grew up together in Montana.  They were neighbors and attended kindergarten thru college together and stayed friends – cohorts – their entire lives.

Larry died of a massive heart attack April 1, 2022.  He was actively involved in more than 40 charities in Idaho.  One of his favorites was The Idaho Foodbank.  So, Dan and I decided to give to the Foodbank in Larry’s name,” wrote Kathy.

She turned to a local rider, homeowner, and realtor, Trisha Sears, to create and sponsor an “Ending Hunger Spring Challenge” event here at the Tamarack  Resort. Kathy and her husband Dan pledged to match donations to The Idaho Foodbank up to $25,000.

A group of about 50 skiers, mostly seniors and those approaching senior status, convened on a Friday evening in February to take up the challenge. What’s the best way to incentivize skiers and riders? With  food and wine, of course.

A builder family, Delain and Dana Kemper, who live here at Tamarack hosted the gathering in a recently completed home for sale (yes, we were all careful about spilling wine or dropping food on the floor). Holesinsky Vineyard and Winery, 2022 Idaho Winery of the Year, donated the wine. Brian Auger, Ken Callan and Jeff Hemmes brought their Oonis to make pizza. Salads and hors d’oeuvres were also donated.

How did we do? We raised more than $17,000, which Dan and Kathy Boespflug matched. But, we were not done.

Rex and Mary Beth Chandler, owners of the top-rated Chandlers Steak House in Boise, donated a special luncheon for 35 people to add to the match. The luncheon was oversubscribed. Boise Channel 7 showed up for the luncheon and ran reports on the Idaho Today Show and also the evening news in Larry’s honor.

With these events, Dan and Kathy Boespflug and their skiing and riding cohorts raised $65,500. Not too shabby!  It’s a heart-warming example of how skiers and riders, thinking locally, drinking locally, giving locally.

What are you doing at your local ski area to give back locally?

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