First Downhill Ski Race Saturday |

First Downhill Ski Race Saturday

Aspen Times Staff Report

Some of the NFL’s greatest stars will hit the slopes this weekend for the third annual First Downhill Ski Race, a fund-raiser for A Grassroots Aspen Experience (AGAE).

The ski race pairs up NFL players with Aspen residents on Little Nell to vie for top honors on the slopes. The benefit unites athletes, sponsors and at-risk youths during a challenging weekend of mentoring and fun.

After being named an honorary member in last year’s event, former Denver Broncos linebacker Karl Mecklenberg offered to become the first celebrity chairman in this year’s event for AGAE.

In addition to Mecklenberg, current NFL stars include San Diego Chargers middle linebacker Junior Seau, Minnesota Vikings place kicker Gary Anderson. Denver Broncos players Alfred Williams (defensive end), Neil Smith (defensive tackle) and Tyrone Braxton (cornerback) will also be on hand for the event.

Former players OJ Anderson (New York Giants), Nick Buoniconti (Miami Dolphins), Basalt resident Ed Podolak (Kansas City Chiefs), Steve Sewell (Denver Broncos), Keena Turner (San Francisco 49ers) and Gene Upshaw (Oakland Raiders) will also be on hand for the event.

The event kicks off Thursday at 7 p.m. with a Celebrity Smoker and Casino Night at the Caribou Club in Aspen for a $125 donation.

On Friday from noon to 1 p.m., the players will be at Alpine Bank in Aspen to sign autographs, before suiting up for practice runs on Little Nell run at Aspen Mountain at 2 p.m.

The official ski race will then start at 10 a.m. Saturday morning on Little Nell.

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