Ryan Relyea: WAS Volunteer and Supporter

Ryan Relyea started volunteering for WAS in 2017. Since then, he’s volunteered or participated in many of WAS events and eventually joined the fundraising committee. WAS is so grateful for Ryan’s dedication and involvement in the organization!

I learned about Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) after watching the people at Snowbird in black coats skiing with people using “special” equipment for years. After inquiring and discovering what it was all about, I couldn’t resist the desire to somehow become involved with helping to deliver on their mission “…to encourage individuals with adaptive needs and their families to realize their potential and engage in active living through year-round recreational, educational and social programs.”

The following year, I decided to make room in my schedule to become a full-time volunteer with WAS. As I went through the training program and observed the diverse group of people involved, I became inspired by the commonality that everyone shared; a genuine love for people and desire to lift another. The idea that I could help brighten the day of an individual with real-life challenges while doing the activity I love most, skiing, seemed too good to be true.

I made a personal goal to spend at least two days per week on the mountain wearing a black jacket. What a joy and privilege it is to arrive at Snowbird and meet the WAS participants who have signed up for lessons that day. Each day is different; from working with the ladies from Ohana to the amazing folks from the VA, I relish the opportunity to connect with amazing people who have incredible stories of overcoming adversity. When the lesson is over and I head back down the canyon, I always reflect on the ways I was positively impacted by the very people I was asked to help. Without exception, my days spent volunteering with WAS leave me uplifted, inspired and energized to try to do more good in the world.

With my increasing involvement came a better understanding of the financial resources needed to facilitate the WAS experience. Because I am genuinely sold on WAS and its ability to deliver on the stated objectives, I decided to also play a part in contributing financially to the effort. I appreciate the opportunity I have had to see first-hand how the sacred financial resources are responsibly utilized. The insight I have gained gives me tremendous confidence that each dollar contributed to WAS is being maximized in supporting its worthy mission.

My passion for WAS is reflected in part by my time and financial contribution to the program. I am grateful to actively participate as the experience reminds me daily that my primary purpose in life is to find ways to walk hand-in-hand with others, sometimes strangers, in a mutual search for peace, joy and improved quality of life. WAS engenders an environment for people to set aside their life struggles, push beyond their comfort zone and develop purpose and confidence through fun outdoor activities. This structure resonates with me on many levels. I have always found peace and strength through taking on new challenges and adventures as such recreation contributes to a healthy life balance. I know this approach works for me, and I see it work for others.

And so, I’ll keep coming back as long as WAS will have me. Perhaps a connection I make with a WAS participant along the way will prove as beneficial for them as it is for me.




  • Very interesting story! I would enjoy getting to know you better and discussing our mutual desire to continue to help WAS be successful. I have been a “small” supporter for about 10 years, initially through the Forever Young Foundation and Steve & Barb. Let’s look for a time to “break bread” together! I’m a retired business banker and now an affiliate marketer for goldstarpayments.com, also Uber driver and Santa for Hire!

  • Fred Bernhardt says:

    give me a call or text at 801-709-4149

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Wasatch Adaptive Sports
Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
9385 S, Snowbird Center Dr.
Snowbird, Utah, 84092-9000

Phone: (801) 834-0476


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