The inaugural Slopes of Hope event at Kelly Canyon Ski Resort offered a free day on the slopes to people recovering from addiction or who needed a mental health day.
Brickhouse Recovery teamed up with Kelly Canyon to host the event to give people a chance to have fun and enjoy sobriety or a mental health day.
The event took place Tuesday, March 1, and all participants had to do was register with their name and recovery group they attend and get access to free ski lift tickets and rentals for the day.
Mike Vansteenkiste, a manager for Kelly Canyon, says he joined forces with Jason Coombs, the founder of Brickhouse Recovery, to host the event.
“We thought, why not combine the resort, give people some hope,” Vansteenkiste said. “There was a lot of people today that, it was their first time ever to a ski resort, ever on a snowboard, ever on skis, and to see that light in their eyes and the hope that there’s people out there who care about them.”
Libertie Potts is a recovery coach for Bonneville County Wood Court, America Health and Recovery Idaho. She helped put on the event, and her goal is to help recovering addicts live a life worth living.
“There’s people that get sober and then sober isn’t always fun and sober sucks and sometimes people die and sometimes we lose our jobs, and all these awful things happen,” Potts said. “So we’ve realized that if you don’t put really good stuff in your life, when these other things happen you drown in them.”
Potts works with the Center for Hope in Idaho Falls to provide weekend activities to people in recovery at an affordable price, if not free.
Activities have included hiking, camping, zip lining and even skydiving. Potts says these excursions are great for the community as a whole.
“How that benefits the community is people aren’t relapsing. They’re spending more time with their kids because all of our stuff is family friendly,” Potts said.
White paper bags were on display with the names of people in the community who overdosed.
“The names just wreck me every single time. One of the guys on there used to work for me. He always had a smile on his face. You’d think there were three of them because he was over there working and then he was over there working and he did a really good job,” the participant said.
Speakers at the event shared their experiences with addiction and offered hope for recovery.
The Slopes for Hope event, and addiction recovery groups in general are not exclusively for those battling addiction, but also those who have experienced a mental health setback.
Hannah and Seth Warner are a young couple who recently lost a baby. Hannah says they have benefitted from addiction recovery principles, such as a belief in a higher power.
“One of the things about a lot of addiction recovery stuff and what Jason does, is it brings you closer to Christ,” Hannah said. “At least for us and our situation, there’s nothing that can give us our baby back until Jesus Christ gives him back to us and so it’s been huge.”
“I think one word that comes to mind when talking about an event like this is hope. For people, myself included who are going through addiction recovery, addiction recovery is hope that there’s more to life than the things that we feel define us,” Seth Warner said.
Potts encourages those who are using drugs to use the resources available to get help.
“Go somewhere right now. You’re not alone and get some help because there’s people out here and we love you,” Potts said.
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