Like many Beehive State locals, Ski Utah CEO Nathan Rafferty is obsessed with skiing. Thanks to a policy he implemented, whenever it snows more than a foot, Ski Utah employees can be found shredding the slopes instead of shackled to their desks poring over spreadsheets. That sort of refreshing prioritization is part of what led Utah Business to name Rafferty their CEO of the Year for 2018. Knowing Rafferty’s dedication to snow, you may be surprised to see him flocking south (far south) in January to compete in the 2019 Dakar Rally. Turns out Rafferty’s not just an award-winning snow CEO, he’s also a world-class motorcycle racer.
Taking on the Dakar Rally is no small task. The legendary endurance event covers more than 3,000 miles through Peru’s rugged desert dunes over 10 stages from January 6-17. Wrangling a 450cc dirt bike over vast stretches of severe terrain is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one, but Rafferty’s already proven up to the task. In January 2018 he took first in his category and sixth overall when he became the first American to finish the grueling Africa Eco Race, which covered nearly 4,000 miles from Nador, Morocco to Dakar, Senegal. Rafterty’s success in Africa put him on the cover of INDVMoto Magazine.
Racing for a cause
Rafferty’s racing Dakar with a bit of extra motivation this year as he’s fundraising for the High Fives Foundation.
“The goal is to raise a few bucks for a great cause while having a little fun through my race by inspiring people to push their boundaries and learn more about themselves through adversity,” he says.
Rafferty’s fundraising page, which has raised nearly $20,000 to this point, asks for pledges for each stage Rafferty finishes at the 2019 Dakar Rally. If you pledge $5 per stage, for example, your total donation to High Fives will be $50 if Rafferty finishes the entire race.
High Fives Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based out of Truckee, CA. Their mission is to help raise injury prevention awareness in outdoor and action sports while providing resources and inspiration to people who suffer life-altering injuries. High Fives has made a positive impact on hundreds of athletes’ lives, so check out their website to learn more about what they do and get behind Rafferty’s effort to support their mission.