We recently got this note from Caroline Dillon, who moved west from Vermont to follow her passion.  Here’s what she shared about the impact of her Adventure Scholarship on her career choices and life in Utah:

In 2012, I had the privilege of receiving the Flyin Ryan Adventure Scholarship to attend a Wilderness First Responder course in Bozeman, Montana.  Little did I know that this course would open up a world of possibilities for me in the years to come.  With that certification I was able to work as a trip leader for my college’s outdoor recreation program. I taught climbing classes, ski lessons, and lead other students into the Utah wilderness to climb, backpack, fish, etc.  Later, I completed an Avalanche Level One course, and more doors opened to backcountry skiing in the Wasatch Range.

These courses allowed me to escape the classroom and the city, and spend time where I truly felt alive: exploring the mountains.  I graduated from my nursing program in 2014, passed my board exams soon thereafter and began working as a registered nurse.  As rewarding as my job was, I was missing my time outside.  In 2016, I took an Outdoor Emergency Care course at Snowbird, Utah to follow in the footsteps of my father and brother to become a ski patroller.  I was hired that winter to work for Alta Ski Patrol; a dream job of throwing bombs, making avalanches and providing first aid.  I still work part time as a registered nurse, and have found the balance between hard work and a simple life that truly makes me happy.

Caroline airborne in Utah. Photo: Carl Heath

Since moving west to Salt Lake City in 2010, I make a point of coming back home to the Mad River Valley in Vermont to visit friends and family as much as I can.  I had dinner at the General Stark’s Pub [at Mad River Glen] with my parents and brother last night. Staring up the lift line of the single chair brought back many great memories, particularly ones with the Mad River Freestyle Team.

Ryan Hawks was my coach for a good part of that time.  I learned so much from him in those years.  He was a phenomenal coach; positive, patient, and always pushed your limits.  But he was more than that as well.  He inspired me to move west and push myself on bigger mountains and live a life dedicated to doing what I love.

Long story short, I wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to the Flyin Ryan Foundation.  You provided me with an opportunity that changed my life, and set it on a such a positive path.  Without your support, I would not be where I am today.  Thank you also for all the support you provide for other young people looking for adventure.

Check out this story from Vermont Ski + Ride magazine about Caroline’s move to Utah to ski patrol at Alta with her brother; includes an interview with both & more pictures: http://vtskiandride.com/siblings-patrol-alta/