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THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

The student news site of Aspen High School

THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

The student news site of Aspen High School

THE SKIER SCRIBBLER

Robert Helsing: Skier to Non-Profit Founder, CEO

Robert+Helsing+skiing+in+powder+on+January+7+on+Aspen+Mountain.
Robert Helsing
Robert Helsing skiing in powder on January 7 on Aspen Mountain.

Non-profit organizations are catalysts for implementing positive change in communities. Their impact is amplified by dedicated individuals, stereotypically in their 40s or 50s. The Aspen Inclusion Project, however, is run by Robert Helsing, a junior at Aspen High School.

Helsing moved from California to Aspen in 2021. Appreciatively, he found that the small town was a change of pace. Before permanently moving, Helsing frequently visited Aspen, learning to ski at the age of four. The move allowed him to further immerse himself in the mountains, developing his passion for skiing. Helsing appreciates the opportunities that have driven his love for skiing yet acknowledges the financial challenges that often arise for many looking to start skiing or snowboarding.

“The hardest part of skiing is getting started,” Helsing said. “I know there’s a lot of struggles and expenses that go into skiing, and I want to make it as accessible as possible. I want as many people as possible to be able to ski – I think skiing is one of the most amazing sports and experiences in general, especially to have as a kid.”

Within the Roaring Fork Valley, Helsing found that a handful of his friends struggled with the same accessibility problem and wanted to make a positive difference. He hoped to build a program where financial issues are irrelevant when it comes to skiing or snowboarding. In addition, Helsing wanted to create a community where people could gain a supportive crowd to ski with, as he believes that aside from expenses, not having people to ski with is a common and significant struggle as well.

In March 2023, Helsing launched the Aspen Inclusion Project, a non-profit organization that works to “reduce systemic inequality in the Roaring Fork Valley.” Partnered with Aspen Snowmass, the Aspen Inclusion Project provides kids with funding for free passes, equipment, and lessons taught by licensed instructors from the Aspen Ski Company. In order to receive free instruction, kids participate in educational tutoring assisted by peer tutors from the Peer Tutoring Club at Aspen High School. This especially, Helsing believes, helps the systematic inequality that he is looking to oppose.

“Tutoring and education are really important. I want to isolate our program to help out kids who in one case might not get the same access to tutors or out-of-school-help as other kids do – they suffer this gap,” Helsing said.

This 2023-2024 ski season, the Aspen Inclusion Project is seeking funding through the use of advertisements and fundraising events. Looking forward, Helsing hopes to eventually extend the Aspen Inclusion Project beyond our local valley, positively impacting kids, teenagers, and college students internationally. Helsing continues to gain inspiration and encouragement from the community, but namely his parents, throughout this lengthy and continual process.

“My parents had their own non-profit that was incredibly successful back in California,” Helsing said. “Through their non-profit, they both taught me that being able to help people without taking anything back is an amazing thing to do for people everywhere.”

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About the Contributor
Quintessa Frisch, Editor-in-Chief
Quintessa Frisch is a junior at Aspen High School. This is her third year writing for the Skier Scribbler and has taken on the role of Editor-in-Chief. Quintessa is looking forward to incorporating more creative designs into the layout of the paper. She is interested in current local and national politics. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, specifically skiing and playing lacrosse.

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