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Bridger Ski Foundation holistically incorporates mental health and wellness into our ski programs. It's an important part of any athlete's toolbox, from developing confidence to managing nerves. But for our youth today, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health concerns can also have a huge impact. BSF developed the following toolkit to help athletes, parents, coaches and other community members.  

Below are mental health resources to help you thrive, reduce the stigma of mental health, recognize concerns, support others, and know where to turn when you or someone you care about needs help.

In addition to these tools, BSF provides mental health training for our staff, educational sessions for coaches and parents, team sessions with a mental health professional, and other resources such as nutrition talks and mindfulness workshops.  

1 in 10
young people experience a period of major depression
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 in the U.S.
over 30%
of children ages 13-19 have diagnosed anxiety



Feeling anxious, nervous, overwhelmed? Take some deep breaths and guide yourself (or someone else) through these steps to bring your body back into the present and help self-calm:
1) What do you see? 2) What do you hear? 3) What do you smell? 4) What can you touch? 5) What do you taste?


Time outside in nature can bring so many physical and mental benefits. Research has shown it can improve sleep, blood pressure, cognitive function. It reduces stress and anxiety and improves mindfulness! And of course, physical activity outside has all kinds of health benefits, too.

Get your time outside: with your BSF team, by taking a ski, a walk or bike ride (etc), or spending time with friends/family outdoors.


Poor sleep (quality or duration) can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical wellbeing. It impacts: your energy levels, reaction time, accuracy, endurance, growth development, injury recovery time, memory, and decision making.
Research shows that athletes with a lack of sleep are at a higher risk of injury. Lack of sleep is also linked to anxiety, depression, and stress.
Sleep tips

View data on how sleep benefits athletes



Ask yourself: Does it make me happy? Does it add more happiness or more drama to my life? Does it give me peace of mind? Does it increase or decrease my self confidence, self-acceptance, and self-love? Does it make my life easier or harder? Does it bring me closer or further away from my true self? Everything else is secondary.


Confidence comes from or is built off of actual tangible facts. Put in the work, trust your training = you are well prepared.


Resilience is more than bouncing back from something “bad.” It is being able to focus on the controllable, reframing negative thought patterns (finding the good out of the situation), and being able to seek out support in order to gain or give strengths to others. We see this with the classic “comeback stories.”


Ruminating on what could have been done better will never help with confidence, nor will it help with processing how things can be done better. Two questions you can ask yourself/your athlete/your team:

What went well?

What’s worth

Stick to these two when reflecting back on practice/games/ conversations.


When we over analyze what needs to be done, we can fall into PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS. Come up with a confidence mantra to help remind yourself to trust your process and hard work.

Step 1:
 Train your talent in practice.
Step 2: Trust your talent in competition.
Step 3: Keep repeating steps 1 & 2.

Step three is an essential point. Trust
is vital for peak performance.


Get used to feeding your “good wolf,” as that is the one that will help you maintain focus and eliminate any false narratives you create in your mind. Positive self-talk has been proven to improve performance and endurance, increasing both power output and time to exhaustion. Use it to your advantage.


You can find yourself upset in certain situations, but having a bad attitude won’t give you any advantage in creating a better environment for yourself or making you come out stronger. Being able to have a positive attitude or a resilient attitude will give you the “winning edge” in every situation, and it also helps you find control rather than losing control.


Goal setting provides meaning and direction, but it also fuels and energizes working toward objectives. At times, the enormity of goals can be overwhelming. Instead, break them down into S.M.A.R.T. goals:



Mental toughness is a valuable concept in behavior, and individual and team performance.

3 factors that can enhance mental toughness:

1) a supportive yet challenging environment

2) having an appropriate support network

3) encouraging reflection and experiential learning


Sometimes it feels like we are making no progress, that the hard work is not paying off, that we are not moving forward and we're “going in circles.” This is a misconception of what is truly happening, We forget that every day of practice is one step closer to making the change we want. We can’t achieve 100% change overnight, but if we change 2% everyday, sooner or later, 100% will be accomplished. The ability to persevere through setbacks and hardship makes the difference between good and great, between success and failure.


We get stuck in the vortex of comparing ourselves to others, and usually only seeing the “success” people achieve. What we don’t ever see, is everything under the surface, all the hard work, the long days, the tough days. Focus on your goals and soon, others will see your success.


Empathy in sports has tremendous benefits to athletes, parents and coaches. Research shows that when individuals are able to show sincere empathy to others in pain or emotional stress, it produces a powerful calming effect. This can make the difference in a team on the verge of giving up or coming back from a tough loss, injury or just a bad day. Some ways of practicing empathy:

1) Soften your tone

2) Increase self-awareness of how you are feeling and if it's helping or increasing anxiety

3) Listen to the needs of individuals around you


Mental Health of America

Resources on mental health, including signs and symptoms of mental illness, screening info, and other resources.

Gallatin County Mental Health Resource Guide

Greater Gallatin United Way's resource guide has phone numbers for medical resources, financial assistance, behavioral and mental health contacts, and more.

Park County Resource Guide

LiveWell 49 has local resources for crisis support, suicide prevention, and other helpful resources.

Need helP?


If you just want someone to talk to, consider calling a warmline. Warmlines are staffed by trained peers who understand what it’s like to need mental health support. Call (877) 688-3377 or visit www.mhaofmt.org/warmline


Get connected to local resources in your area. Call 211 or visit Montana211.org.


If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.

Bridger Ski Foundation's Mental Health & Wellness Toolkit is made possible with funding from AMB West Community Fund and FICO.