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Jon Miller's Uphill CLIMB

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When I met Jon Miller in 2011, he had just moved to Vermont from the D.C. area.  As I got to know the new transplant, we quickly forged a friendship based on our many shared and vast-ranging interests, including: good beer, hiking and exploring, cooking (and eating), kickball, attempting home renovation projects (largely at the urging of our wives) and of course, skiing. Looking back, it amazes me at how much our lives and friendship have evolved since that first encounter.

As with all things Jon sets his mind to, he quickly established himself in our beloved state with much enthusiasm and gusto: something that anyone who has experienced a true Vermont winter firsthand can tell you is no easy feat. In as many years as I can count on one hand, I've watched Jon and his amazing wife Elisa create a beautiful home together, welcome two healthy & lively boys into their family (Oliver, 3, and Sam, 15 months ), introduce them to the wonderful playground of Vermont they are being raised in, and announce the arrival of their third child- due in just a few short weeks. In an effort to fully embrace Vermont's long and cold winters, Jon turned to honing his skiing skills, and has spent the last few years immersing himself in trail maps, avalanche courses, gear reviews, and backcountry message boards throughout the northeast. While not on "daddy duty" Jon has somehow managed to juggle work and fulfilling his (relatively newfound) passions: backcountry skiing and filmmaking.

In 2014, Jon and I founded Dogy Down Films, as a way to document not only our backcountry skiing adventures, but the incredible and unexpected journey of self-exploration that it brings us. Together, with a group of our adventure-seeking daddy friends, we've managed to explore some of the northeast's most renowned backcountry destinations, all while pushing both the physical boundaries of the mountains and the boundaries set by our wives. We've come to perfect the 3:30 a.m. wake up call: all so we can be skinning up by 6:00 a.m., skiing down by 8:00 a.m. and home by noon for lunch and naptime.

On Sunday, March 13th, Jon and I decided to take advantage of the unseasonably warm temperatures and head to Mount Washington to film some footage for our upcoming 2015-2016 film (Ironically named, The Way Down). With the birth of his third child fast approaching, this was to be Jon's last ski outing of the season, a final "hurrah", to what has been an otherwise dismal ski season in the northeast.

The morning sun had softened the snow and made for great climbing and skiing conditions for our first two descents down The Gulf of Slides. Rejuvenated with adrenaline from conditions beyond our expectations , we decided, after much deliberation, to traverse the mountain over to Hillman's Highway for Jon's last run of the season.

It was while skiing Hillman's that Jon slipped on a patch of ice and fell somewhere in the vicinity of 900 feet, all before my eyes, hitting patches of ice, boulders, and at least one ice and rock buttress before sliding to a stop. The sight of Jon when I finally made it down to him is both something I can't wait to clear from my mind and yet know I will never forget.

I have enormous admiration and gratitude for all of those that pitched in on that mountainside to aid Jon: from the three skiers we had met with earlier that day who phoned for help and communicated instructions to me (Lincoln, Jim & Pete, to whom I am forever bonded with now), to the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrollers, U.S. Forest Service Avalanche Center Staff, and several other guides who all helped in safely lowering Jon to the ranger station, where he was immediately medivac'ed to Dartmouth- Hitchcock Hospital.

At this point Jon is still in the Intensive Care unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and his injuries are severe and the extent still not entirely known.

What we DO know is that Jon has a long road ahead of him, both in terms of physical and cognitive recovery. We also know that this is a tremendous stress on the entire family: emotionally, physically, and financially. Elisa remains unfathomably strong, but being 34+ weeks pregnant, she has her limitations. Jon's road to recovery will undoubtedly be long and arduous and the family could use all of the support they can get in helping to offset what are sure to be astronomical medical bills, hotel stays (until Jon can be transferred to The University of Vermont Medical Center, if and when that happens), transportation costs (which include the medivac as well as potentially transferring him to Burlington, where he can be closer to Elisa and family), etc.

While the last few days have been immeasurably difficult, there have also been numerous glimpses of Jon's tremendous strength and optimism. I've seen Jon Miller climb his way uphill dozens of times, and while this may be his biggest uphill battle to date, I know he has the strength and perseverance to prevail, but any help in clearing the path is most appreciated.

For more updates on Jon's progress, follow @dogydownfilms on Instagram. To learn more about Dogy Down Films and our mission, please visit: www.dogydownfilms.com.
If you'd prefer to contribute a meal to the family or help otherwise, please feel free to contact me through the the email provided through this fundraising page.

Thank you for reading and it is with heartfelt gratitude that we accept any help!

- Art Wright on behalf of the Miller Family

Donations 

  • Tom and Mary Beth Nowak
    • $100 
    • 8 yrs

Organizer and beneficiary

Arthur Wright
Organizer
South Burlington, VT
Elisa Miller
Beneficiary

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