Scavenger hunt at Copper Mountain Resort will raise funds for mental health

A snowboarder with a cellphone make turns on the opening day of 2018-2019 season Friday, Nov. 16, at Copper Mountain.
Hugh Carey /

An innovative, fun and educational way to raise funds for mental health and suicide prevention in Summit County will take place at Copper Mountain Resort on Feb. 23.

Summit County mental health awareness and suicide prevention nonprofit Building Hope is teaming up with Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ for the “Secret Spot Team Challenge.” The mountain-based scavenger hunt will meld shredding, problem-solving and the community’s mission to stem the tide on suicide in the county.

The challenge will see teams of skiers and snowboarders using clues to find seven different caches hidden across green and blue terrain at Copper Mountain. Aside from the physical challenge from finding all the spots in a limited amount of time, each spot will contain mental or physical puzzles that will educate about mental health while providing clues to the next spot. In some ways, it’s like an escape room on the mountain.

Nick Sackman, marketing director for Snowboarders and Skiers for Christ, said that the main goal of the activity is to raise funds for community mental health initiatives like Building Hope and to fund programs that can help more Coloradans struggling with mental health issues.

“We have four chapters here in Colorado, and mental health has been a big issue we’ve been seeing,” Sackman said. “Our chapters have been asking for help on how to address mental health issues. We have struggles with depression and anxiety in our own family. Just being part of most communities in Colorado, everyone knows someone that struggles with mental health.”

Sackman said that aside from the fun and physical aspects of the Secret Spot Challenge, each one will contain educational information about mental health issues, with some explained in snowsports terms that relate them to skiing and snowboarding. Sackman said the information will include statistics about mental health and suicide, as well as trying to push people out of their comfort zone.

“We thought there couldn’t be a better way to talk about mental health than through the activities everyone around here enjoys,” Sackman said.

Summit County had a near-record 11 suicides in 2018. Suicide has been on the rise nationwide, and is now one of the leading causes of death for all young people. In mountain and rural areas, the suicide rate is higher than average due in large part to to a lack of providers and resources, as well as substance abuse.

Sackman said that there is also a bit of a taboo about talking about mental health that the activity will try to overcome and help reach people who might be struggling on the inside but not showing it to others.

“The cool thing is that ‘Secret Spot’ has a dual meaning,” Sackman said. “As skiers and snowboarders, we have secret spots where we ride every time — our own little areas on the mountains and trails where we go to when there’s a good pow day. But we also have secret spots in our lives, mental health issues or suicidal thoughts we hide from people in our life. We want people to share those secret spots with their friends and their community, and tell people it’s OK to talk about these things.”

The Secret Spot Team Challenge will take place at Copper Mountain on Saturday, Feb. 23. Anyone looking to take part in the Secret Spot Team Challenge can do so by signing up themselves and a team at through the CrowdRise fundraising platform. The challenge will take place on green and blue terrain, making the event accessible to most skill levels. Winners will be entered into a drawing for a yet-to-be-announced grand prize.

The minimum requested donation is $100 per team member, with two to six participants per team. For those without a pass, discounted lift tickets for the day can also be purchased for $60 each. Proceeds will benefit Building Hope and faith-based mental health organization My Quiet Cave.

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