Meet "Skiing Everest" Filmmaker Mike Marolt

February 27, 2012William Schmitt

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More about the March 6 special event, "Skiing Everest," in Carey Auditorium, Hesburgh Library, 6:30 pm ...

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER MIKE MAROLT

AND THE CAUSE –  THE JIMMIE HEUGA CENTER ENDOWMENT, FIGHTING MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

In May 2000, after a childhood growing up in Aspen and climbing and skiing in Colorado’s Elk Mountains, twins Mike and Steve Marolt, along with life-long friend Jim Gile, climbed and skied the central peak of Tibet’s Shishapangma.  This marked the first time a person from the Western Hemisphere climbed and skied from 8000 meters (26,000 ft).  Since that time, Mike and Steve have become the only Americans to do this multiple times, preceded by only four other people in the world. 

Mike’s ski heritage starts four generations ago when his family arrived in Aspen Valley.  Beginning as simple miners and barkeeps, the family became ranchers and eventually world class skiers.  Mike’s father, Max Marolt, joined the US Olympic team in 1954 and skied in the Squaw Valley Winter Olympics in 1960.  Max’s career in the ski industry spanned 60 years, and he and his brother Bill have both been inducted into the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.

Mike’s passion as a ski mountaineer has been complemented by a second career as an independent filmmaker.  Mike has produced six  adventure documentary films, including SKIING EVEREST, which won the Ski Channel’s Best Adventure Film of the Year in 2010, and has premiered all over the country, most recently on ESPN. 

It was during his childhood that Mike met another famous Olympic skier, 1964 bronze medalist Jimmie Heuga.  Mike was impressed by Jimmie’s kind and compassionate nature as much as his ski prowess.  Jimmie and silver medalist Billy Kidd became the first American men to win Olympic medals in downhill skiing.  While still a teenager, Mike recalls when he and his father Max ran into Jimmie in the gallery at a world cup race, and were asked to help him get to his car by carrying him to the vehicle.  That was the first time Mike came in direct contact with the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis.

This single experience led Mike to support the cause when asked by Jimmie to “fight the fight against MS” through participation in ski events which raised money for Jimmie’s charity, The Jimmie Heuga Center, now called Can Do MS.  Jimmie, who passed away in 2010, had challenged Mike and other young people like him to pick a fight, “any fight, cancer, homelessness, starvation, anything” and help “knock out all the terrible diseases and conditions” in the world. 

Mike’s latest film marks another of his passions; supporting lifestyle empowerment programs for people living with the chronic disease of multiple sclerosis by raising funds for the Jimmie Heuga Center Endowment.  This new film is a documentary on the life of Jimmie Heuga.  Can Do: The Legacy of Jimmie Heuga tells how a world class athlete conquered his fear of living with MS by pioneering a philosophy of care focused on exercise and nutrition. Today, Jimmie’s methodology of treating the whole person is widely used by MS care experts around the country. 

This film is Mike’s personal dedication to the man who taught him, by example, that each of us can make a difference.  Mike believes this inspirational story will help motivate people living with chronic diseases like MS to do what Jimmie did, and “take the cards you have been dealt, and make the most of your situation”. 

Mike challenges every person to pick a fight, and be motivated by Jimmie’s philosophy of living with what you ‘Can Do’

We hope you will join us in supporting Jimmie’s legacy by donating to the Jimmie Heuga Center Endowment.  This 501(c)(3) registered charity has the mission to establish ongoing financial support for life transforming programs for people living with multiple sclerosis.  We are currently working towards the goal of $1 million in funding.  Once the threshold is achieved annual investment proceeds above this amount will be distributed to programs which help transform the lives of MS sufferers across the country. 

Proceeds from the March 6 special showing of Mike Marolt’s exciting film, Skiing Everest, at the University Of Notre Dame, accompanied by an in-person Q&A discussion with Mike Marolt, will support the Jimmie Heuga Center Endowment fund. More information about this limited theatrical presentation can be found at http://iei.nd.edu/events/2012/03/06/9809-special-film-screening-skiing-everesst/, and tickets can be purchased at http://lafortune.nd.edu/tickets/.

 Thank you for supporting this worthy effort that celebrates the adventure of life and assists people with MS.  You can find out more about Jimmie Heuga, the Jimmie Heuga Center Endowment, and the Can Do Multiple Sclerosis cause at http://www.mscando.org/can-do-ms-history/founder-story/.