great things happen together

Impacting Community. Building Confidence.
Changing Lives. Making a Difference.

Participating in outdoor activities is important to feeling part of a community. Experiencing cultural and social outings with family and friends enriches lives and brings people together. To help ensure individuals living with disabilities have these opportunities, Challenge Mountain removes barriers and supports social inclusion through adaptive recreation.

Programming is centered on having fun, making and sustaining friendships, building confidence and independence, and fostering positive and hopeful expectations. Individuals of all ages and abilities can participate, including those living with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities. Challenge Mountain utilizes adaptive equipment, when needed, to support a positive experience for individuals participating in activities like cycling and skiing. Challenge Mountain provides more than just a participant experience. Volunteers, staff, family and friends are part of every experience. At Challenge Mountain, people make the difference.

Our Promise

For those we serve, we strive consistently to provide the absolute best recreational experience for all who come to play, learn, and enrich their lives. Everyone leaves with the satisfaction of achieving a goal they have set for themselves and our staff and volunteers work diligently toward helping them achieve that goal. For the community, we continue to give back to our community by providing clothing and household goods to those in need. For those who support us, we recognize that their time, financial contributions, and interest make our work possible. We value this support and will use these resources wisely. For each other – Board and committee members, volunteers and staff – we appreciate and support each other, recognizing the importance of each of our contributions and valuing the diversity in our backgrounds and experiences.

Mission Statement

Enrich lives and empower individuals living with disabilities through year-round adaptive recreation.


All individuals — regardless of ability — can participate, learn and enrich their lives in an inclusive environment.

The Challenge Mountain Board of Directors is made up of a group of dedicated and actively engaged leaders from our local communities with diverse backgrounds and skill sets that contribute to the overall success of Challenge Mountain. Board members volunteer their time and support recognizing that planning for the future of Challenge Mountain is an ongoing commitment to ensure continued success in fulfilling our mission. The Board of Directors is instrumental in evaluating the organization’s effectiveness and working with staff to implement strategies that contribute to long-term sustainability.

Meet our Board of Directors and Staff

Core Values We believe in C H A L L E N G E

C    Connections with others
H    Human Potential
A    Accepting everyone
L    Longer, healthier, happier lives
L    Loving one another
E    Embracing diversity
N    Nurturing growth
G    Giving back
E    Empowering individuals

Challenge Mountain began as a dream of Darla Evans, a parent of a child living with a disability. Her daughter was confined to a wheelchair with limited opportunities available for her to experience activities with family and friends. In 1982, Darla took her daughter, Chrissy, to the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colorado so she could learn to ski like her siblings and friends.

By the end of the week, five year-old Chrissy was skiing with special equipment adapted to her needs. She discovered a freedom she had never known, self-confidence and self-esteem!

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Olivia was born with a disability that impacts muscle stamina, and stand-up skiing was something she could only do for a short time before becoming exhausted. This made skiing together as a family difficult.

Olivia’s family was planning a trip to northern Michigan where her family of skiers would enjoy the springtime snow. Prior to their visit, Olivia’s dad contacted Challenge Mountain about opportunities for her, such as volunteers to assist and adaptive equipment.

Upon their arrival, Challenge Mountain volunteers, equipped with a biski, met Olivia’s family at Boyne Mountain on a beautiful sunny day in March. Olivia immediately loved riding up the chairlift and flying down the hill in the biski with the Challenge Mountain volunteers… Continue Reading

Read More Participant Stories & Testimonials

Beyond the Mission

In addition to our mission driven commitment to enrich lives and empower individuals living with disabilities, the Challenge Mountain also meets a broader community need by serving our neighbors, friends and families who depend on access to low-cost clothing, furniture and household items through the Challenge Mountain Resale Store. According to U.S. Census data, 21% of Charlevoix County residents are at or below the poverty rate for families with children (2013). This is a 30% increase when compared to 2009 data. Emmet County comes in at a lower poverty rate of 12%, but at a higher rate of increase (35%) since 2009.

Challenge Mountain is committed to continuing to serve economically disadvantaged individuals and families who call northern Michigan home through the Challenge Mountain Resale Store. Through the Resale Store, each year Challenge Mountain donates over $5,000 worth of clothing, household items, furniture and sports equipment to local schools and families in crisis.

Removing the Financial Burden

With the financial and life challenges of living with or caring for someone living with a disability, Challenge Mountain believes that money should not be a barrier to experiencing life. Thanks to the generous support of individual donors, the community, grants from private corporations and foundations, and income generated through the Challenge Mountain resale store, Challenge Mountain programs are offered at little or no cost to participants and their families.

Each year, Challenge Mountain connects over 1,800 children, youth, and adults with special needs to life-enhancing recreational opportunities. Participants gain personal fulfillment through a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of acceptance that translates positively into their everyday lives. Programs are not just about having fun on a boat ride, climbing a ropes course, or skiing down a hill. These experiences create positive individual and group development, while building social and character skills and transforming participants’ views of themselves and their abilities.

You can join Challenge Mountain in its effort to connect people with opportunities that change lives. Volunteer your time and talents. Give your gently used items. Donate.

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Our Lodge

The Challenge Mountain lodge sits on a wooded, 160-acre parcel between Boyne Falls and Walloon Lake Village. The lodge houses an adaptive ski equipment and fitting area, warming spaces, restrooms, and a community lunch room. From the lodge, participants and families enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, adventure, and camaraderie. To learn about Challenge Mountain’s history, click here.

Our Resale Store

Great people. Great prices. Great cause. Whether looking for a treasure or gently used furniture, clothing, household item, sporting equipment, or toys, the Challenge Mountain Resale Store exceeds customer expectations and brings them back for more. Each year, 40+ volunteers provide over 11,600 hours of donated labor. The Resale Store is a community resource for those who depend on it for low-cost items. Each year, the Resale Store donates furniture, household items and clothing to local schools, families, and individuals in need. For sales and previews, follow the store on Facebook.

Challenge Mountain purchased their beautiful piece of property in 1984. Everett Kircher, founder of Boyne Resorts, donated Walloon Hills Ski Area to Challenge Mountain for $1.
Each year 60+ volunteers provide 1,800 individual life-enhancing recreational experiences like adaptive skiing, biking, siling, kayaking, equine therapy, ropes adventure course and art therapy.
Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, annually 40+ resale store volunteers donate over 11,600 hours totally more than $320,000 of In-Kind Labor. Thank you all!