The parking lot at Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, Oregon, is loaded with campers, truck rigs, vans and even tents that line the makeshift blacktop campground. A circle of people are juggling a soccer ball for a game of MUFF (similar to HORSE but for soccer), a mixed pack of dogs play around the center of the impromptu village, and a group of skateboarders roll on by – adding to the perceived chaos of the parking lot.
So, just how are over one hundred snowboarders camped at the base of mountain helping to solve the global water crisis?
The answer lies within the annual Drink Water Rat Race: a banked slalom snowboard race fundraiser hosted by Smartwool athletes, Bryan Fox and Austin Smith, that benefits water.org. Check out the video below to see more from the 8th annual Drink Water Rat Race.
When Bryan and Austin started Drink Water in 2011, they decided if they were going to be promoting water over energy drinks, they needed to contribute to the cause as well. Prior to their careers as Pro snowboarders, they spent many summers at Mt. Hood working as “diggers” for a snowboard camp—diggers were responsible for building and maintaining the terrain parks. This experience lead them to the idea of building a banked slalom course that could make an impact and bring the snow community together during the heat of summer. In partnership with their sponsors and Timberline Resort, Rat Race was born.
For every $12.50 raised during the event, Water.org gives someone access to clean and safe water that empowers communities around the world to define their own future. Since its inception eight years ago, this “small” snowboard race held on a snow field in the middle of summer has raised over $200,000 and recently earned its largest single year donation total of over $40,000.