Help keep trio’s nordic dreams alive | AspenTimes.com

Help keep trio’s nordic dreams alive

Dear Editor:

We want to thank the Aspen community and friends for last year’s support of our nordic pursuits and Olympic dreams. We have another great nordic night in store for everyone this year, with free pizza and beer and a silent auction.

Our celebration is from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 3 – same place as last year, the Limelight Hotel. We want to personally thank as many of our supporters as possible, since we know our skiing results have improved due to the great hometown support we enjoy.

Last year, we had two Aspen men on the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team. Simi Hamilton was named to the “B” team, with hopes of making the “A” team. Mission accomplished: Simi had an impressive seventh-place in the Drammen World Cup sprint and 10th place in the Rogla World Cup sprint, both finishes that qualified him to be named to the “A” team for this 2012-2013 season!

Last year, Noah Hoffman accomplished several goals that represent steps forward in his career. He broke into the top 30 in a World Cup competition for the first time with a 26th place finish in Otepaa, Estonia. He also became the fourth American ever to earn a podium at the Under-23 World Championships. Noah has been named to the “B” team again this year, but he is gunning to make the “A” team by winter’s end.

This spring, Aspen native Michael Ward was named to the U.S. Nordic Combined “B” team. His best finish was at the World Junior Championships in Erzurum, Turkey, where he placed ninth in the K100 jump and 5-kilometer race. This was the best finish for a U.S. Nordic Combined skier at the World Junior Championships in the past 12 years. Michael was previously a member of the National Training Group for Nordic Combined.

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Being named to the U.S. Ski Team is a great honor, but it doesn’t come with full funding, unfortunately! “B” team athletes have to pay their own way. They receive great coaching, clothing and racing gear, but often travel and winter expenses are not covered by the team. For nordic combined, even the cost of ski equipment, although discounted, is paid for by the athletes. “A”-team members receive partial funding, and most of their travel and racing expenses are paid for by the U.S. Ski Team.

This year’s benefit will highlight the three Aspen athletes on U.S. Nordic Ski teams. It is the first time that Aspen has ever had three nordic athletes on the U.S. Ski Team at the same time. It is an honor and a privilege that we take seriously.

Come help us celebrate nordic skiing in Aspen. There will be great U.S. Ski Team gear at the silent auction, as well as many great locally donated items.

We can’t wait for the season to begin! Onward to Sochi. … It’s just 480 days away!

Simi Hamilton, Noah Hoffman and Michael Ward

Aspen