Vail-based Sync Athlete Fund offering ski racers $50k in funding, hoping others follow | VailDaily.com

Vail-based Sync Athlete Fund offering ski racers $50k in funding, hoping others follow

US Ski Team alpine racer Wiley Maple received funding and support from the Sync Athlete Fund on his journey to the upper echelons of the sport.
Special to the Daily

VAIL – American ski racers in need of a little help from their friends can now apply for the Sync Athlete Fund, which will provide direct athlete funding for ski racers who compete outside of fully funded programs.

That group, after all, represents the majority of ski racers in the U.S.

Brian Rodine, with Sync, said the athlete fund came about as a result of a truth that most involved with American ski racing know well.

“Anyone who follows Alpine ski racing in the U.S. is pretty aware of the funding gap,” Rodine said. “Only the very top athletes are actually funded to train and get the best coaching and the best facilities to focus on the sport. Anyone who is just outside of that ends up spending their time fundraising and not focusing as much as they could on the actual ski racing.”

While Sync Performance was started as an apparel company, its stated purpose from the beginning was to help athletes reach their goals and to shake up the ski racing world.

In manufacturing apparel that held up to the rigors of travel and competition for the athletes that use it, Rodine said they also discovered how to make products that are appreciated by recreational skiers, as well. By selling that apparel, they were able to set up the athlete fund.

“We’re hoping others in the industry follow suit,” Rodine said. “And as our company grows, we’re hoping to increase what we’re able to contribute, too.”

‘Challenging the status quo’

Sync CFO Kris Ochs said the Sync Athlete Fund’s mission is to build a better future for the sport of ski racing by inspiring, empowering and supporting the next generation of racers.

“It’s about challenging the status quo and channeling resources to support a wider, stronger base of skiers, something we hope inspires others to do the same,” Ochs said.

Ochs is a former NCAA ski racer.

“Life as an athlete is a constant balancing act of competing demands, juggling training schedules, travel, equipment and education,” Ochs said. “At Sync, we strive to create a future where the strength of the sport allows promising talent to cross off ‘full time fundraising’ from those variables and refocus that effort on delivering their best performances.”

The Sync Athlete Fund will work with Team America, a recently re-launched independent ski team originally founded by Bode Miller. Vail local Peter Lange is the head coach, and Vail ski racer Alex Leever is a member of the team.

By working with the nonprofit Team America Foundation, the Sync Athlete Fund can offer grants to NCAA athletes, U.S. Ski Team development squad members and others who are showing promise in the sport but having trouble finding the funds required to keep going.

All ski racers are welcome to apply. The application period will run through Aug. 31. Apply at http://www.syncperformance.com/pages/sync-athlete-fund.