FRANCONIA — Native son Bode Miller and his family returned to Cannon Mountain on April 5 to host BodeFest 2014.
BodeFest is one of the biggest annual fundraisers for the Turtle Ridge Foundation, which the Miller family founded in 2005.
"The foundation is based around enabling adaptive sports and youth sports programs," said Miller, a six-time Olympic medalist and World Cup champion said.
The foundation wants to empower disabled people, he said.
Miller added: "Skiing is great for everyone; the sense of freedom is empowering and if you face that kind of injury, this can be a building block for getting back into a normal life and make you feel you can achieve and accomplish anything."
One way TRF has helped disabled skiers is by building and designing sit skis.
"We put a lot of energy and resources into the sit skis, which are here today, and some disabled athletes are using them and racing them today," Miller said. "We needed cash, because we had to machine and assemble parts, so these events and fundraisers are the key to that."
The main event at BodeFest was a fun race against Bode Miller down Gremlin trail. About 430 racers got in the start gate. Their race bibs allowed them access to an autograph session at which Bode greeted everyone. By the way, Bode's time of 38:61 was the fastest time on the hill.
The silent and live auctions had memorabilia and other items, such as autographed skis Bode wore at the Kitzbuhel Downhill, the elusive race he never won. Those went for $2,500. Cannon's GM John DeVivo threw in a Cannon Mountain season pass to help entice the bidding.
Miller placed second wearing the skis — but only by a few hundredths of a second.
"I think I skied the best I ever skied...Not a victory but as close as you can get to one," he said about his historic run.
Miller said he enjoyed skiing on Gary's Trail with the younger set.
"To be back on my home mountain where I grew up skiing is great," he said, "but I remember the mountain being a lot bigger. It was great out there skiing today with the kids. But now I make three turns and I'm at the bottom of most trails."
Miller plans to continue ski racing next season. He won a bronze medal in Super G in February at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. He has won a total of six Olympic medals, six World Cup titles, two overall World Cup titles and 33 World Cup wins. He is also the winningest-ever U.S. men's alpine skier.
The non-profit Turtle Ridge Foundation receives 100 percent of the money raised at BodeFest. Some of the organizations it helped include: NH Boys & Girls Club, NE Disabled Sports, Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country, Adaptive Action Sports, Let The Kids Play, Youth Enrichment Services, Surfers Healing New England, North County Recreation and youth summer camps.
For more information visit: www.turtleridgefoundation.org.