Supporters of the Live Like Sam Fund are invited to the Park City Mountain Resort on Friday afternoon to rebrand a newly painted rail, with their handprints, to remember the late Sam Jackenthal.
The event is set for 3 to 5 p.m. Friday at the base of the First Time lift.
We talked to Ron Jackenthal, the founder and director of “Live Like Sam” and the father of Sam, a young athlete who died four years ago after a ski accident in Australia.
He said a few months later, they started thinking about a memorial.
“We were in discussions with a number of the executives at Vail and Park City Mountain Resort, specifically Bill Rock, about what could we do to honor Sam at his home mountain, Park City Mountain Resort, where he won U.S. Junior Nationals and where he grew up skiing, and he had close bonds. And we landed on the idea that we would form a coalition between Vail employees and Park City Mountain Terrain Park Group, Sam’s teammates, Sam’s coaches, Sam’s friends, and they would collaborate and create a collection of pipe and park and rail features that would be painted in blue, honoring Sam with his favorite color, and would have “I ride with Sam.”
At the initial ceremony in January of 2017, team-mates and supporters, wearing gloves, put their hands in paint and placed handprints on a five-section 60-foot park rail, under two large golden handprints derived from Sam’s own prints.
After three years of use and abuse of the rail by skiiers and snowboarders, the Park City Resort has repainted the rail, covering the old handprints. So supporters on Friday are invited to put on new handprints.
“We’ll have stickers and some give-aways and bracelets and what-not. And it’ll just a fun way to end the ski day, start the holiday season, and keep Sam in our heart and kinda pass it on to the next, sorta the next generation of skiiers.
On Wednesday, the organization received an Epic Promise grant. Jackenthal said they will use the funding to put on an event, next spring or summer, to thank their donors.
He said they work with several other groups to facilitate scholarships.
”The three things we focus on are needs-based and character-based scholarships, character-based education and community integration. To date, we’ve predominantly done all of our scholarshipping with partners so we’ve done a lot in our community with YSA, the Youth Sports Alliance, which I’m on the board of and a huge believer in. We’ve done scholarships with USASA, the feeder organization to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard, that covers about 3000 kids nationally. We’ve worked with Woodward, as an example, to create scholarships to let young athletes compete for a three-week camp, and they’re doing it through means such as writing 250-word essays around what does it mean to live like Sam, or live a life of gratitude, or live a life of character or give back.”
Jackenthal said they have given out 50 scholarships and expect to double that this year.
He said the funding is not just for elite athletes.
“I think competitive athlete, recreational athlete, really no athlete. There’s clearly a tie-in to Sam and athletics. And we do believe athletics helps create character. But you don’t have to be an elite athlete or a winter athlete for that. And we also believe that there’s an opportunity to really help our youth with character-based education and character-based living.”
Ron Jackenthal, from the Live Like Sam Fund.