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‘Boarders Without Borders’ Seeks Support For Iran Venture; Teter Leads Way

Mountains above Tehran

Iran might not be high on your ski vacation bucket list, but it has the top spot on agendas of Olympic Gold Medalist Hannah Teter and Pro Rider Gabi Viteri in February 2013. Now, they need your support. Here’s why:


“Boarders Without Borders” plans to send four American professional snowboarders (the two male riders will be named soon) on a mission to befriend Iranian youth by exchanging cultures and mutual fervor for snowboarding. More than 35 percent of the population in Iran is under 35 years old. 


Hannah Teter

“I am looking forward to the cultural aspect of being in this foreign land with a different mindset than I'm used to,” Teter told SnoCountry.com this week. “We will be showcasing the culture of this nation, meeting with the locals, hearing from those who really know the country, getting to know them and sharing the common stoke we have for snowboarding.” 


Chris Molenik, a producer and fundraiser for the project, told SnoCountry.com, the plan is to film a feature-length documentary of the trip that will have widespread distribution following the adventure. Iran’s two main winter resorts -Dizin and Shemshak - are only about two hours from Tehran in the high Alborz Mountains. Both are about 1,200 feet higher than resorts in the Alps. 


Boarders Without Borders will be produced and directed by three New York City-based filmmakers, directors Marjan Tehrani and Nick Catania and producer Brian Sachson. 


But, before any video camera focuses, funds need to be raised right now to support the effort. Molenik directs potential donors (of any amount from $1 up) to the Boarders Without Borders page on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.com. The timing, he says, is urgent as Kickstarter projects work under a short timeframe.


Molenik assures that no credit cards will be charged until the project reaches its goal of $125,000 by Sept. 16, 2012. Most support levels bring free reward gifts from DVD copies of the documentary to t-shirts, hoodies, gift bags from Hannah’s Gold charity, Burton boards, GoPro cameras, and more. Gift rewards are listed on the Kickstarter page. The Burton giveaway is at the Winter X Games Fan Page. The project’s Facebook page also has up-to-the-minute information.


Members of the Iranian National Alpine Team and individual riders have reached out to Boarders Without Borders through social media. 


“We want them to come and visit very much,” posted an Iranian snowboarder from the Dizin resort. “I am sure they will like it and change any negative ideas about Iran. I want them to know more about my country. There is no place for politics in sports.” 


Gabi Viteri

Everything but the money is in place for the journey, including permits issued by the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC licenses); travel visas for cast and crew; Iranian filming licenses; and Iranian government chaperones and logistics through the Ski & Sport Association (Iran’s Olympic Committee). In short, Molenik says the legal and political travel regulations have been met.


Teter, from Belmont, Vt., won halfpipe gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy and took the silver medal in the same event four years later at the Vancouver Games. Her charity, Hannah’s Gold, raises money in partnership with World Vision, through sales of Vermont maple syrup. Her newest charity endeavor is an exclusive line of underwear – Sweet Cheeks. Some 40 percent of proceeds from sales go to projects of partner Children International.


Viteri is a member of Team Burton. She skipped the entire 2010-11 season recovering from a shoulder injury, but came back strong last winter. She filmed all season while touring with Peep Show, a company focused on female snowboarders and self-described as “not filmmakers who snowboard, but snowboarders who film.”


What It Means: The funding of this project tops all agendas as time runs out at Kickstarter on Sept. 16. This is an ambitious, but still relatively modest in the scheme of these things, fundraising goal. Iran is in the news virtually every day for all the wrong reasons. This is a sports outreach project that transcends all that and is worthy of winter sports fans support.


Photos: Top - High mountains above Tehran, Iran; Left - Hannah Teter; Right - Gabi Viteri


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