Written by CC Cunningham, blog writer and Program Manager for the Chris Klug Foundation.
Another year at CKF and another Winter X Games in the books—and what a great X Games it was! Spanning across four days, our little town of Aspen, CO didn’t seem so little as a record-breaking 117,000 people flocked to Buttermilk Mountain to compete, spectate, and support. Kicking off the X Games weekend on Thursday, our very own Chris Klug raced alongside Oregon native, Henry Meece, in the Special Olympics unified slopestyle snowboarding race. For the third time in four years, the pair raced down the dual slalom course and ended up taking home gold in the event. We couldn’t be prouder of these two for all of their hard work and training!
After watching Chris and Henry compete, CKF Executive Director, Lauren Pierce, and I made our way down to the base of the Buttermilk slopes to talk organ donation and register X Games attendees as donors. We received a huge helping hand from our volunteers: Debbie Overeynder, Joan Hoffberger, and Jeff Hoffberger. After a long afternoon at our very own CKF booth, we headed home to do it all over again the following day.
CKF was in two places at once on Friday. Partnering with Smirnoff Ice, we co-hosted a booth with them in the Gondola Plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain on Friday and Saturday. There were plenty of other booths in the plaza to draw the X Games crowds in while they took a break from the action at Buttermilk (Colorado’s own Noosa Yoghurt, RXBAR, and Red Bull were among the other booths there). Lauren was accompanied by Joan and Jeff Hoffberger again at the Buttermilk site, while Chris Klug Properties assistants, Dylan Braun, and Wyatt Wheeler, helped me out in the plaza (we also got a little help from our puppy friend, Kaia!).
On Saturday, I headed to Gondola Plaza again to register donors and educate passersby on organ donation. Lauren received help from volunteer Julia Brazell at the Buttermilk base.
Sunday was the biggest and busiest day in the entire history of the Aspen X Games. The most people attended the games that day, while Lauren and I held down the fort at our little booth at the base. The Klug’s came by as well to help us with registration. Chris’ son, River, even chipped in by handing out CKF swag! It was so much fun having people proudly show us their IDs with the little red heart at the bottom to signify organ donor status. As more and more X Games goers showed us their driver’s licenses, it became clear how Colorado ranks so high in organ donor registration status—approximately 69% of Coloradans are registered organ donors! But we also saw high numbers of registered donors from Idaho, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as well, which gives us hope for the future of organ donors across the country.
It was a blast of a weekend—we didn’t want it to end! Thank you to all of our volunteers who took time out of their own weekend schedules to help us out. We couldn’t have done it without you! And thank you to everyone who registered as organ donors through our brand-new app, Swipe CKF, that easily registers non-organ donors as donors just by scanning the bar code on the back of a driver’s license. We are so happy and proud of your decision! Here’s to another successful Winter X Games weekend. Until next year!