Photo: Jordan Manley
(Crested Butte, CO)
—A devastating turn of events in the life of professional telemark skier Max Mancini has resulted in something overwhelmingly positive—a new nonprofit organization based in Crested Butte called Life Turns, which offers outdoor adventure camps for children living with illness and children with special needs. The first camp debuts March 8 – 15, 2009, and is a collaboration between Life Turns and the Adaptive Sports Center (ASC).
Life Turns serves between 10 - 25 children per camp, and will feature a variety of winter activities, including snowshoeing, dog sledding, sledding, skiing and snowboarding, as well as team-building exercises, games and group dinners in the evenings. Life Turns and ASC staff will provide instruction and leadership for participating children throughout the week. Children of all ability levels and their siblings are invited to take part in this life-affirming camp at no charge.
Mancini was inspired to create Life Turns based on his personal challenges with his health and well-being. On September 30, 2007, Mancini and his pregnant girlfriend, Molly Jackson, were involved in a tragic car accident that took the life of Jackson and required Mancini to undergo extensive neurosurgery. After the accident, Mancini was very dedicated to both his physical and mental recovery. Mancini returned home on his birthday, November 22, 2007, to a community of support. He began skiing a few months later, and found the feeling of moving quickly under his own power to be incredibly healing and exciting. Mancini’s return to skiing stimulated his brain, helped him to conceptualize what had happened, and helped him determine what steps he needed to take in order to fully heal from the unexpected events, or turns, in his life.
The name of the organization, Life Turns, is a metaphor for the events that caused Mancini’s life to turn. Mancini was able to find a positive outlet from a traumatic event, and this is how Life Turns was created. The camps will focus on turning the negative outlook that surrounds a child living with illness or special needs toward a fresh, positive view on life. The organization’s formal mission statement is as follows:
Because there are so many conditions that require children to spend the better part of their childhood in and out of hospitals, Life Turns was created. Life Turns is a camp with a goal to give children living with illness a break from hospitals, doctors and treatments while building friendships and enjoying winter activities. The children are welcome to invite their siblings to take part in the camps; to spend some needed quality time together. The focus of the camps will be skiing and snowboarding, but a variety of wintertime activities will be enjoyed free of charge.
"After my accident, skiing was such a tremendous therapy. It really helped me to heal both physically and mentally, and it is my hope that I can share that with others," Mancini said.
Life Turns will run one weekly camp per winter season to start. Camp participants are being selected with the help of Children’s Hospitals in Denver and other metropolitan areas. The March 8 – 15 camp still has several openings; for more information please call Max Mancini at 970.309.4732 or Jen Schumacher 970.379.0207.
Warren Miller Entertainment Benefit Film Screening for Life Turns
Warren Miller Entertainment will showcase a highlight reel of Max Mancini’s four segments as well as the most recent feature film
Children of Winter
—with the marquee segment filmed in Crested Butte, Co—at The Lodge at Mountaineer Square Grand Ballroom on Mt. Crested Butte, Friday, March 13, 2009 at 7 p.m. Admission is $15 and all proceeds will be donated by Warren Miller Entertainment to the Life Turns Foundation. Tickets will be sold at the door only. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Special thanks goes to Crested Butte Mountain Resort for providing discounted lift tickets and lodging for campers and assistance personnel, Alpine Express for helping to organize transportation, the Denver Children’s Hospital and Life Turns Board Members Sharon and Pete Jackson, Johnny Alamo, Lee Schumacher and Steve Ayers.
Mancini is donating all royalties from Rossignol’s “The System," the Max Mancini Pro Model Ski, to the Children's Hospital in Denver, and Rossignol is matching the donation, making around 15%, or $100.00 from every pair of skis sold additionally benefiting children in need. Life Turns is largely funded by private donations; if you would like to help support Life Turns’ winter camp for children living with illness, please visit
or call Max Mancini at 970.309.4732.
Check out Max Mancini's Warren Miller Segments below: