Hurricane Sandy left many of those in the West stunned and seemingly helpless, but professional skier and model Sierra Quitiquit didn’t just sit in front of her TV feeling impotent. Instead, with a very tight deadline, she took it upon herself to rally the Salt Lake City ski community in recovery efforts for the Frankenstorm’s victims and rescuers.
Two nights before a business flight to NYC, Quitiquit mingled at the annual Alta Ski Area athlete party. With mountainous scenery, ski industry big shots, and beverages at her disposal, she was as far from the coastal devastation as anyone. She awoke the next morning with the realization that in 24 hours, she would board a private jet, with cargo space to spare, en route to ground zero for Sandy’s landfall.
A friend told Quitiquit “that the greatest need was outerwear to protect Sandy’s victims from the elements, especially as the storm was resurging. The communities were reflooding and temperatures were dropping,” she explained. “In a moment of clarity, I felt like it was my duty to connect one community to another in a time of need.”
Quitiquit scrambled to arrange a clothing drive. Friends and sponsors shared Instagram photos, Tweets, and Facebook messages. Within hours, donation boxes were overflowing onto her porch. The next morning, before her flight, friends sorted the clothes and packed them into ten oversized boxes and seven enormous bags. The total included more than 300 warm jackets, plus gloves, hats, snowpants, and socks to those needing relief.
A few days later, speaking from Brooklyn, Quitiquit said, “Right now, most the clothes are in the hands of the elderly. They were picked up off the tarmac and driven directly to the Gerrittsen Fire Department, which distributed the items to grateful locals and emergency workers over the past 24 hours. There are now elderly folks with technical shells and fire department members rocking Park City Ski Team jackets.
“Bravo, Utah,” she said.
To contribute directly to Sandy relief, go here https://www.wepay.com/x8v5a6z/donations/sucker-punch-sandy
Photo by Brody Leven