Matt Philippi’s FullCircle Project continues to blend community service with skiing

December 17th, 2012 by

Skiing in South America is something many people dream of. Embarking on a community service mission to coincide with your South American skiing adventure, however, is something that only a rare few would think to do. One of those few: Pro shredder Matt Philippi.

With the help of friends, sponsors and donors, Philippi founded the FullCircle Project (FCP). Now in its third year, FCP has seen pro skiers Dan Marion, Ahmet Dadali, Taylor Felton and Jack Tolan—among others—join the program. This year, Philippi and co. ventured to Amaru, Peru to address a waste management issue plaguing the community. And the trip wouldn’t be complete without a shred-mission to Chile. We checked in with Philippi to get the low down on FCP’s most recent outing.

How did The FullCircle Project come to be? The FullCircle Project came into existence on a winter night in 2010. Jack Tolan and I were scheming on the porch, talking about goals we wanted to accomplish. I had been talking a lot about making a webisode series. Jack was on a traveling spree, which he is still on, I might add. We both wanted to ski and see the world. At some point, the idea of doing community service while we traveled came up and we just felt like it was right. We really didn’t stop talking about it until we were heading to Chile six months later.

Now, three years later, tell us about what you have done. Well, we have done three trips with three different community service projects. In 2010, we built a kindergarten and a playground in Chile after the earthquake and tsunami. In 2011, we built an apple tree orchard in Peru as part of a sustainable agriculture project. And this year we worked on a recycling center in Peru. We have donated 6 weeks of work and over $4,000 to the various service projects.

*Philippi and co. have also released 9 webisodes highlighting their efforts. The edits can be viewed at TheFullCircleProject.com.

You were in Amaru, Peru this past summer. Tell us a bit about the place. Amaru is located in an area called El Parque De Las Papas, or the Potato Park. Funny, I know. It sounds way better in Spanish. The park is an area for the preservation of ancient knowledge and culture. A big part of that culture are the 1,800 different species of potatoes that are grown there. All this has been handed down from generation to generation since the age of the Inca.

So why the recycling center? Maras is an almost pristine community, almost free from pollution and waste. They sustainably live off the land using organic agriculture. Taking care of the land is the core value of the community.

But, there is a developing problem with their waste management. What has happened is that modern products, and therefore modern waste, has recently reached this community. What I mean by modern is plastic, styrofoam and other non-biodegradable materials. All this waste gets thrown into an open pit dump. The trash in the dump gets carried by wind, eaten by animals and is poisoning the ground near the dump.

The recycling center is going to alleviate the need for that dump. The center will be a sorting and temporary storage facility that will recycle plastic and aluminum, manage other solid wastes and also make compost for the community’s agricultural efforts.

We spent a couple weeks gathering and making the necessary materials for the project: Rocks for the foundation, trees for the roof and adobe bricks for the structure itself. We also donated all the money needed for additional supplies like cement.

A valiant effort, indeed. After Peru, you went to Chile. How was the skiing? They had one of the driest years in recent history. It was really boney, lots of rocks. But we timed our skiing perfectly. After a few days of skiing we got hit with a meter of light powder. It was the best skiing I have ever had in South America.

Also, it was great skiing with Ahmet Dadali. We haven’t really skied much together before so it was fun to shred with him. It was also great having Ahmet on for the volunteer work, that dude is a hard worker and hilarious.

Anything else you’d like to add before we sign off? I just want to thank all the supporters of The FullCircle Project: Our donors, Völkl, Marker, DNA, Bollé, Under Armour and ProBar. We could not do this with out everyone’s help. Also, please check out all the episodes from this year. It was an amazing experience and I am excited to share it with everyone.

The FullCircle Project – Season 3, Episode 3 — Muyu Juntas’qa

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About the author:
Henrik Lampert loves hot dogs, the Boston Bruins and Norway. He's the Online Editor here at Freeskier.