Pro Skier/Artist Chris Benchetler and Wife Kimmy Fasani Benchetler Start Charitable Foundation to Help Others Heal Through Nature

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The natural world has powerful healing properties that go beyond words. Professional skier and artist Chris Benchetler along with his wife Kimmy, also a professional snowboarder, have started the Benchetler Fasani Foundation to provide a meaningful connection to the outdoors for those who have suffered loss or hardship, by experiencing the healing properties found only in nature.

According to the foundation’s homepage, the Benchetler family are athletes, nature enthusiasts, artists, and longtime influential Mammoth Lakes locals. Chris Benchetler grew up in Bishop, California, and moved to Mammoth to pursue a professional skiing career after his father passed away from cancer. His talents have made powerful impacts in the ski industry and more recently, as an artist who uses his experiences in the mountains and ocean as inspiration.

Kimmy Fasani Benchetler is a professional snowboarder, mother, author, and family advocate, who moved to Mammoth to pursue her snowboarding career shortly after her father passed away from cancer. Chris and Kimmy’s 20+ year-long relationship was fueled by their loss of loved ones and their love for the mountains. After Kimmy’s mom passed from cancer at the peak of her snowboarding career, the couple started their own family, and shortly after their second child arrived, Kimmy was diagnosed with aggressive stage 3 breast cancer.

Potential outdoor experiences involved with the Bechetler Fasani Foundation include but are not limited to:

  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Rock Climbing
  • Mountain Biking
  • Hiking
  • Trail Running
  • Yoga/Mediation
  • Kayaking
  • Fly Fishing
  • Standup Paddle Boarding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Camping
  • Surfing

The Benchetler Fasani Foundation also offers scholarships for introductory to elite-level outdoor adventure programs in the Eastern Sierra and surrounding areas, as well as collaborating with non-profit alliances that have pre-existing programs nationwide.

The benefits of spending time in nature

“There is mounting evidence, from dozens and dozens of researchers, that nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well­being,” says Lisa Nisbet, PhD, a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who studies connectedness to nature. “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature, even in urban nature. And the sense of connection you have with the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature.”

“Cynthia Frantz, PhD, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, states “Spending time in nature has cognitive benefits, but it also has emotional and existential benefits that go beyond just being able to solve arithmetic problems more quickly,” she notes.”

In a review of the research, Gregory Bratman, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Washington, and colleagues shared evidence that contact with nature is associated with increases in happiness, subjective well-being, positive affect, positive social interactions and a sense of meaning and purpose in life, as well as decreases in mental distress (Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 7, 2019).

Decrease anxiety, depression, and amplify connectedness, happiness and brain clarity and cognition.

Below Quotes Sourced

“Nature’s benefits are facilitated not only by visual stimuli, but also by its sounds, smells, and all the other senses,” said Michal Matlon, a place and architectural psychologist at the LivingCore.

According to environmental psychologist Lee Chambers, “studies have shown we can have a physiological response to being in natural environments, reducing our heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.”

“There can also be a level of psychological restoration, with the lowering of cortisol, improved concentration, and feeling a deeper sense of connection,” Chambers added.

As a result of these effects, participants in previous research studies have reported benefits including:

To learn more about Benchetler Fasani Foundation and potential scholarships, visit its home page by clicking here.

The Benchetler family. | Photo courtesy of the Benchetler Fasani Foundation

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