Glitter, Gates and Rails raises funds for racers
For an organization whose mission statement is to “provide youth the opportunity for character growth and excellence through athletics,” fund-raisers such as this and the annual Ski Swap are imperative.
“We make 40 percent of our budget from fund-raising events,” said Aldo Radamus, executive director of the Ski Club. “Students only pay 60 percent of costs through their fees. The rest is through community donations and fund-raisers.”
And with about 300 children participating each year, and more than 30 pupils on scholarships, it is clear why events such as Saturday’s are so important.
“We want any child in the community with a passion for skiing or snowboarding to be able to be part of the Club, to pursue competition,” Radamus said.
Not only does Ski and Snowboard Club Vail promote competition and a love for downhill sports, Radamus said, it also works to “develop character and commitment” in young athletes.
Alumni of the Club, such as Sarah Schleper, are a testimony to the success of the program. Schleper, who has been a member of the U.S. Ski Team for eight years running, gives the Club – and the Vail Valley itself – great credit for her athletic success.
“Vail is one of the best mountains to grow up on,” Schleper said. “It’s has vast terrain, great snow, and a community that really supports ski racing.”
Schleper now splits her time between her parents’ home in Eagle-Vail and an apartment she has rented in Austria for the ski season. She chatted amiably with other members of Vail’s skiing elite, including Cathie Douglas, the oldest Masters Racer.
Dan Leever, former Club board member, posed for a shot with Michael Milton, who was named 2003 Laureus World Sports’ Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Milton, who also made history in the Salt Lake City Paralympics by winning all four alpine events, said he enjoys “sharing the hill” with Ski and Snowboard Club pupils and coaches.
“Vail has fantastic training spaces for international athletes,” said Milton, who will be joined by the entire Australian Paralympic Ski Team on Dec. 1 for six weeks of training. “I’m glad to be here.”
Exotic silent auction items included a “priceless” four-day stay in a private residence only steps from the lifts of Grand Targhee. For more star-struck bidders, there was a basketball sneaker signed by teen star Justin Timberlake. For those in between, there were tables full of donated treasures.
As one scanned the crowd of talent and their supporters, it was clear that the Club’s vision statement, “to be recognized as one of the premier ski and snowboard competition programs in the world,” is well in sight.