Olympian Andrew Weibrecht takes on the 46
to make kids’ dreams come true
As summer turns to fall, foliage just beginning to pop and the air cooling, Olympian Andrew Weibrecht is looking forward to snow. Last winter, from January through March, the 35-year-old Lake Placid native skied 22 of the Adirondacks’ 46 highest peaks to raise funds and awareness for Make-A-Wish Northeast New York, a chapter of Make-A-Wish America, an organization that helps kids with critical illnesses realize their dreams. Weibrecht’s got 24 mountains to go.
He’s seen these summits before—first finishing his 46 in hiking boots at age 10 and then climbing them all over again with his little brother. “I have fond memories of doing it as a kid,” says Weibrecht. “I haven’t been in the High Peaks that much in recent years, so it’s awesome to go back to reconnect—and in a different season.”
At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver Weibrecht won a bronze medal in the Super G; in the 2014 Sochi Games he took home silver. But ski mountaineering is different, an exercise in patience as you skin up a mountain and then, from the top, navigate drainages and slides to reach the bottom. Weather plays a huge part, as does equipment. Head ski company and Stio outdoor apparel are helping support Weibrecht’s challenge, sharing his progress on social media and encouraging people to donate to Make-A-Wish.
Last winter he tried to tackle what he calls “the less desirable peaks,” including Mount Marshall, on which he broke a binding and was forced to turn around. He’s saved “the better skiing peaks” for this winter, and hopes family and friends will join him. He estimates that it’ll take about 10 more skiing days to complete his mission.
Weibrecht’s family owns Lake Placid’s Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa, and through the years has hosted Make-A-Wish families. Weibrecht’s met some of the kids, including a teen from Florida who dreamed of being a bobsledder and was able to watch the US Bobsled Team compete at the World Cup.
And now Weibrecht, a father of three and retired from the US Ski Team, says that all of this connects in a personal way: “I’ve always wanted to ski the 46 and I wanted to work with Make-A-Wish. If I can use my platform to raise awareness, I feel very lucky.”
Visit Andrew Weibrecht’s Make-A-Wish fundraising page at http://site.wish.org/goto/Ski46.