In the last decade, the High Fives Foundation has gained widespread acclaim among mountain athletes. Even more impressive, they’ve managed to become a common thread of connection and hope between a variety of athletes, outdoor sports communities, and charitable initiatives. If you’ve missed the hype about High Fives, here’s why they’ve made such a strong impression on so many—including SYNC.
What is High Fives?
The High Fives Foundation was founded by Roy Tuscany, an avid free-skier with Olympic ambitions who grew up in snowy Waterbury, Vermont. In 2006, Roy was training in Mammoth Mountain, California, when he suffered a life-changing spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The overwhelming community and financial support that he received during his long road to recovery became his inspiration for founding High Fives in 2009. Almost 10 years later, the organization remains dedicated to providing funding, resources, and support to people who have sustained life-altering injuries while pursuing their passion for sports. In addition, the High Fives Foundation sponsors awareness programs on injury prevention to protect and educate outdoor athletes across the country.
High Fives’ longest running program is known as the Empowerment Fund, which offers grants to those who have experienced a life-altering accident such as a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury. The grant can be used to cover expenses in nine different categories, including living, insurance, health, travel, High Fives’ healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, and “stoke” (defined as “positive energy, outlook, and attitude”). Through the Empowerment Fund, High Fives has been able to help 219 athletes recover and train at partner organizations around the nation.
C.R. Johnson Healing Center
Following the tragic death of Tahoe local and freeski legend C.R. Johnson in 2010, High Fives opened the C.R. Johnson Healing Center in Truckee, California. This 2,800-square-foot recovery facility shares an office with High Fives and serves as a support system for athletes recovering from severe injuries. Here, athletes can access specialized personal trainers, state-of-the-art equipment, comprehensive rehabilitation services, and group classes.
Military to the Mountain
Another major High Fives initiative is the Military to the Mountain (M2M) program. M2M gives injured veterans the chance to train in a nine-week adaptive ski program at the Adaptive Training Foundation in Dallas, Texas, or at Paralympic Sport Reno in Nevada. The program ends with a week of skiing lessons at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, led by the Achieve Tahoe Adaptive Ski Program.
To help raise awareness about injury prevention in mountain sports, High Fives launched their B.A.S.I.C.S (Being Aware Safe In Critical Situations) program. Through this initiative, they’ve hosted events and created a series of videos featuring professional skiers such as Sally Francklyn, Julia Mancuso, Connery Lundin, Elyse Saugstad, and Cody Townsend endorsing injury-prevention messages.
Why SYNC Supports High Fives
We feel lucky to have a close relationship with High Fives and are proud to play a part in their growth. Like many others who have been touched by their mission, we strongly believe in building support networks for injured athletes and promoting better industry-wide safety awareness. We continue to be humbled and inspired by athletes that overcome daunting obstacles to reconnect with the activities they love in the wake of a traumatic accident. We hope you are, too.
Our Elevate the Athlete donation program has given us a means of giving back to the sports and communities that have enriched our lives. To further that effort, we invite you to learn about our other non-profit partners and let us know where you’d like us to donate whenever you make a purchase.