Boarding For Breast Cancer Hits Southern California

It’s January 8, 2000 and Mother Nature is still holding out on snow in the Southern California mountains. But thanks to the big guns and Chuck Allen at Mountain High, California the second stop of the Boarding For Breast Cancer Board-A-Thon tour was blessed with blue skies, lots happy people, seven live bands, and a festival area full of booths demoing and showcasing fun, snowboard-related products. The BBC Board-A-Thon was created as a way to expand the once-a-year snowboard/music festival and bring awareness and fundraising to several resorts across the country, grass-roots style. The first stop was December 5, 1999 at Stratton Mountain, Vermont. After the second stop at Mountain High this weekend, the Board-A-Thon will visit Snowbird, Utah on January 22, Mountain Creek, New Jersey on February 19, and Mt. Bachelor, Oregon , May 5.

All five Board-A-Thons are strengthened by Fitness magazine, along with other sponsors including K2 Snowboards, Mantra eyewear, and chickclick.com among others.

The epidemic of breast cancer threatens all women and is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women today. A woman dies of breast cancer every eleven minutes. There are 1.8 million women in this country who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and 1 million more who do not yet know they have the disease.This year 182,000 women and 1,000 men will discover that they have breast cancer, and 46,000 will die from the disease. Breast cancer is the leading cause of death of women ages 35-54. We do not know what causes breast cancer, how to cure it or what to do to prevent it.

The event hit home for some of the attendees. Joseph Tiffany, nineteen, from Palmdale, California runs the day crew at the Mountain High park. His grandmother died of breast cancer when his mother was sixteen years old. “A lot of people are pumped on it the event,” he says. “I see a lot of people sporting the pink ribbons. The turn out seems pretty good.”Burton rider Saul Canizales, 23, from Granada Hills, California says he heard about the event through his sponsor. “This is a great event and a good cause to get people out here.” He says his landlord recently suffered from breast cancer and had a mastectomy.

Ryan Henry, nineteen, also from Palmdale, heard about BBC through some friends who work at the mountain. He also works for Powder and Sun snowboard shop. His mom is a breast cancer survivor after undergoing chemotherapy and having and a lump removed. “They should broadcast the event to get more people up here and to let the public know that it’s for real.”

“I know a lot of people who have different types of cancer,” says Jimmy Vincent, 21 from Palmdale, California. “My grandmother just died from cancer actually. It’s a serious issue. It’d be nice to see more coverage by news and radio to get the word out that it’s not just a bunch of punk kids, it’s a good cause.”

There were plenty of women present at the event as well, including one of the event founders and pro snowboarder Tina Basich. Though Basich bowed-out of the snowboarding demos Mountain High Snowboard and Ski Team riders along with some local shop riders, local pro rider Jimi Scott, Salomon rider Rich Acvedo, and Burton’s Saul Canizales, put on an aerial assault in the halfpipe. The freestyle skiers were charging inverts, and tuck-knee airs ten to twelve feet out of the pipe. Not to be out done, Jimi Scott, followed with hand plants and head high straight airs.

Scott and the Mountain High park staff not only had the pipe running smooth, but had also built and maintained a multi-level skateboard-esque snowboard park with bowls, hips, rollers, rails, and kickers, to keep all levels of riders happy throughout the day. “It’s a great cause and it’s at my local mountain,” Scott says when asked why he decided to attend the board-a-thon. “Overall it’s pretty good considering mother nature hasn’t been that good to us this season. But the park is up to par.”

Education and awareness was the focus of the day’s events. At the BBC booth sunscreen and Fitness magazines were passed out along with, raffle tickets sold for great prizes and educational information on breast cancer was passed out.

The most charitable donation of the day started with the board-a-thon winner. He individually earned the pledge most money and was awarded a Dyno Glide beach-cruiser for his efforts. He then turned around and donated the bike back to the event. It was auctioned off at the close of the day and the highest bid was $425, all going to the BBC Foundation.

By the end of the afternoon, the event had raised over 7,500. To date, BBC has raised over $400,000 for breast cancer research and educational projects. There are three more board-a-thon events leading up to the major snowboard/music festival at Sierra-at-Tahoe on April 15, 2000.–Written by Robyn Hakes, Leah Jones, and Tara Miller.