History of Life Turns:
Max Mancini and Jen Schumacher founded Life Turns in 2008 in Crested Butte Colorado. The two had been friends since high school when they reconnected in Crested Butte and spent a winter skiing together. They were both passionate about the outdoors and the healing capabilities of participating in outdoor activities. They wanted to share their passion and excitement with those who could benefit from exposure to skiing, camping, and enjoying the outdoors.
A year earlier, Max had experienced a devastating loss in a tragic car accident where he lost his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn son. Max was immediately flown to St Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where he had to undergo neurosurgery to remove blood clots from his brain and to repair a shattered skull. After the accident, Max was very dedicated to both his physical and mental recovery, and immediately searched for therapy. He was forced to stay in Denver for two months to heal is injuries, as the surgery that was performed left pockets of air between his skull and brain. If he were to return home to Crested Butte, the change in elevation would cause these air pockets to expand and put pressure on his brain, causing headaches or potentially worse complications.
Max finally returned home on his birthday, November 22, to a community of support. He began skiing a few months later, and found the feeling of moving quickly under his own power to be incredibly healing and exciting. Max’s return to skiing stimulated his brain, helped him to conceptualize what had happened, and helped him determine what steps he needed to take in order to fully heal from the unexpected events, or turns, in his life.
The support Max received from both friends and family, and the healing he was able to
receive through skiing, serves as the foundation for Life Turns. Life Turns will operate
camps designed to serve children in need, to share the same healing experiences that led Max to recovery from his own personal circumstances.
The name of the foundation, Life Turns, is a metaphor for the events that caused Max’s
life to turn. Max was able to find a positive outlet from a traumatic event and this is how
Life Turns was created.
Jen Schumacher LPCC, Life Turn’s COO and co-founder, is a psychotherapist and a yoga teacher, and has over 8 years of experience as a ski instructor. Jen grew up in Aspen, CO where she had the opportunity for many adventures in the outdoors such as camping, skiing, rafting and mountain biking starting at an early age. Experiences in the out-of-doors made her passionate about the environment, and she pursued this as a student at the University of Denver where she received a BA in Geography in 2006 with a minor in environmental science. At the University of Denver, Jen also pursued her love of travel, visiting many countries and studying abroad in India where she worked with Tibetan refugees. Jen also volunteered for 3 years at Warren Village in Denver, where she cared for the children of abused and battered women. Her love of the environment and outdoor sports, combined with her experiences as a volunteer working with children from broken families motivates her to create opportunities for others to have positive experiences in the outdoors. After providing three years of camps through Life Turns, Jen decided to return to school and received her Masters Degree in Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute where she graduated in 2015. Life Turns is a way for her to share her talents as a teacher, leader and athlete to provide constructive recreational opportunities in the outdoors to children in need.
Life Turn’s CEO co-founder Max Mancini LPCC, has seven years of experience as a professional skier. He grew up in Crested Butte, CO, where his parent’s enthusiasm for the outdoors instilled in him a passion for kayaking, mountain biking, camping and skiing. Max’s love of the environment paired with his enthusiasm to ski as much as he could drove him to the University of Colorado where he studied film and environmental science. During college Max stared his own ski film company, Falling Forward productions, allowing him to ski, film and travel. While traveling the world as a professional skier, Max used his success as a skier to volunteer and raise awareness for multiple charitable causes. He has volunteered as a featured athlete for the Denver Children’s Hospital “Slopes for Hope” event to raise money for EB (epidermolysis bullosa), among other causes. After the first few years of offering camps through Life Turns, Max and jen realized the need to incorporate a psychological component to their camps, so they both returned to school where they received their Masters Degrees in psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. These experiences along with his personal experiences of healing through skiing, and love for the outdoors, inspired him to use his talent as a skier to help others. Through Life Turns, Max connects his talents as a skier and a therapist to his broader aspirations of creating opportunities for healing and growth through skiing to children in need.