Nordic trio needs help |

Nordic trio needs help

Dear Editor:

Last Saturday night we had a “send off” fundraiser for our three U.S. Ski Team nordic athletes – Simi Hamilton, Noah Hoffman and Michael Ward – and it was a rousing success, indeed! There was a silent auction where many individuals and local businesses contributed valuable items. Additional contributions were given, even without active solicitation. People stood patiently in line to make their donations! And there were more than 250 people who enjoyed free pizza and donated beer from 5 to 7 p.m.

The three young men answered tough, and sometimes lighthearted, questions from local announcer Mike Trecker. They spoke confidently of their competitive schedules and what their expectations are for the winter. They spoke eloquently about the issues of blood doping and drug use, making it very clear that the U.S. nordic teams are vigilant in having clean and drug-free athletes. They spoke in favor of education alongside athletics, whereby you must keep your mind active and stimulated as you try to maximize your athletic endeavors.

We are indebted to the Limelight Hotel and Aspen Skiing Co. for donating the space and many items to the silent auction. Aspen Brewing Co. graciously donated beer for the event. And Art Burrows, of Ajax Design, did a fabulous job of designing the ads and posters for the event.

One would think that being named to the U.S. Ski Team means that your expenses are fully paid. Hardly! The yearly costs that Noah and Michael will incur, as members of the “B” teams, will probably exceed $25,000 each. Simi was named to the “A” team due to his inclusion in the International Ski Federation red group, the top international ranking – but he still has sizable costs that are not covered by the U.S. Ski Team.

Near the end of the evening, Toby Morse, the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club nordic director, stood up and made a plea for Aspen, the community and the town, to help fund these young men. It was a powerful statement that affected many in the audience.

If you were unable to attend and still wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Rocky Mountain Nordic Angel program (which helps to offset the training and racing expenses for those specific athletes), you can send a donation to: RMNAngel, 2613 Arroyo Drive, Durango, CO 81301. Its tax ID is 74-3145034.

Craig and Becky Ward


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