County to slice ski club funding? |

County to slice ski club funding?

Eben Harrell
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club could lose another source of financial support if the recommendations of a citizens committee are followed by Pitkin County.

The Citizen Grant Review Committee provides annual recommendations on how the county should allocate the approximately $700,000 from property taxes dedicated for nonprofits. Committee members suggested yesterday that the popular youth program be cut from the funding list after this year.

In a memo to the board, the committee said the purpose of the county’s grants was “not to support the arts or sports and recreation programs.” Instead, the grants should focus on organizations in health and human services.

As a result, many applicants, from Aspen Filmfest to the figure skating club, found their grant applications flatly denied.

Other charities in health and human services, such as DonorDirect and the Aspen Valley Community Foundation, were also denied funding because they are themselves grant-making organizations.

“[We] prefer to give to programs directly so that the programs can monitor just how the funding is used,” the committee said in its memo.

The committee recommended that the ski club receive support for one more year. The final decision will be made next fall by the commissioners, who have shown reluctance in the past to override the committee’s advice.

This could spell bad news for the club, which is currently expanding its membership programs to incorporate downvalley Hispanic communities.

“The county has been important to us financially for at least the last four years,” said Mark Cole, the ski club’s executive director. “We hope between now and next year, we can convince the board to continue funding [us].”

In a presentation to the board, committee member Ken Mueller said some tough decisions had to be made.

“All these guys are doing good stuff,” he said. “We had to compare apples to apples here.”

[Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is]

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