“Happy!” – The story of one family, and one amazing volunteer

Margaret and Doug Kossler first encountered Tracy Golly, a volunteer ski instructor, after they enrolled their son Logan with Challenge Alaska when he was six years old. Logan has autism and extremely limited verbal abilities to the point that he is often labeled nonverbal.

Immediately, the Kosslers took note of Tracy’s intuitive understanding of Logan. Tracy knew how to incrementally introduce Logan into the world of skiing so that it could be fun and not overwhelming. They started on a sled, because due to Logan’s sensory issues he would not put on ski boots. In just four lessons Logan was on his own skis, going down the mountain while being held between Tracy’s skis. By that fourth lesson, Tracy and Logan did nine runs on the slopes and rode the chairlift each time!

During one lesson Logan expressed his pure joy for the sport in a single word to Tracy, “happy!” Today, lessons are all about independent skiing.


Over the years Tracy has even incorporated his teen daughter into the lessons because he saw the benefit for Logan to watch a younger person skiing alongside them.

“As parents of a special needs child, one frequently hears more about what the child can’t do rather than what he can do”

Wrote Doug in a volunteer of the year nomination letter for Tracy.

Not only has [Tracy’s volunteering] touched Logan, but it also has given my wife and I much-needed hope about our son.”

In 2012 Tracy won the First Ladies Volunteer of the Year Award. Today both he and his daughter continue to volunteer and ski through Challenge Alaska. Meanwhile, Logan is hitting the slopes solo giggling the whole way down!