Rural Afghanistan is not a place where you would normally expect to find ski apparel, but that is about to change.

Taos Ski Valley has joined with non-profit Morning Star Development, of Denver, to collect and ship used ski patrol and instructor jackets to families in the rural areas of this mountainous country. Winters are harsh in Afghanistan, and few families have the money to purchase modern winter clothing, according to Morning Star. The outdoor apparel goes to Morning Star's Community Centers for distribution throughout rural Afghanistan and other locations to help the rural poor and orphans.

"We are so pleased that recycled apparel from our ski instructors and patrollers is being put to good use by needy people in Afghanistan," said Adriana Blake, administrative manager at the northern New Mexico resort. "It is an honor to be a part of Morning Star Development's charitable efforts."

The yellow parkas and vests with blue markings that are familiar to anyone who has skied at Taos join about 100,000 pounds of clothing and supplies from Rocky Mountain businesses heading to Afghanistan. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is spearheading the effort, with the assistance of military groups.

The supplies include 10,000 winter coats, 8,000 pairs of shoes, 5,000 children's toys, sports equipment, first-aid kits, irrigation equipment and crop seeds, among other items.

More information.