AUDI FIS Ski World Cup, Featured, Local News

KMS leverages the World Cup to sustain, inspire, support athletes

By Dave Young, courtesy of Killington Resort

Some of the best skiers in the world met with fans at last year’s World Cup.

By Karen D. Lorentz

The newly formed Killington World Cup Committee (KWCC) is a fundraising arm of the Killington Mountain School that was formed to help sustain World Cup racing at Killington as well as to inspire and support young athletes, according to Head of School Tao Smith.

The KWCC was created by the school’s board of trustees in collaboration with trustees of U.S. Ski and Snowboard, the recently renamed governing body of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team (a.k.a. USST).

Using the power of the draw of the prestigious World Cup events at Killington, the committee has two objectives, Smith said.

One is to support the Women’s World Cup at Killington by helping with the hospitality component for the competitors. This includes assisting with housing costs for the competitors while at Killington. The committee will also host a VIP night at the Peak Lodge Friday night, inviting 250 guests who will include athletes, sponsors, large donors, members of the KMS board, and officials with Powdr Corp and Killington, Smith said.

In assisting in this manner, Smith said, the goal is to help “make sure the event is sustainable year after year.” In doing so it also serves as inspiration for young ski racers, he added, noting that is a direct benefit for not just KMS students but for young competitors throughout the Northeast.

The other goal is to support those youngsters and competition programs by facilitating competition and training infrastructure and increasing participation in competitive winter sports programs in the Northeast. This will be done through the awarding of funding for qualifying projects. Tiger Shaw, CEO of US Ski and Snowboard; Phill Gross, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Foundation trustee; USSA Youth Initiatives; and Tom Karam, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Foundation trustee, and T2 Foundation will join several KMS trustees and Smith on the grant application committee. They will review requests and distribute the funds in the form of grants.

To accomplish these objectives, the KWCC hopes to raise $300,000 to $400,000, Smith said.

“Funds that remain after providing hospitality at Killington Resort — via supporting athlete housing and VIP events — will be used to benefit the local and regional youth development programs. The fundraising committee will work through KMS, but the funds raised will not go to KMS,” Smith noted. (The only costs to be covered will be administrative fees.)

Those served will also include adaptive skiers. “We’re trying to raise access at the grassroots level for all participants who are interested in the competition pipeline. There is a US Disabled Ski Team, and our purpose is to be broad enough in our grants to include adaptive skiers as well as able-bodied youth,” Smith explained.

The committee will raise funds through direct solicitations and also by selling the premium grandstand tickets to the World Cup events, a portion of which will go to the KWCC.

“Last year the World Cup was incredibly well received, and I know there were kids who watched who will be future Olympians and World Cup skiers. By keeping the event here and by helping to keep ski racing strong and vibrant locally and regionally, we are helping to drive the future while inspiring students and athletes from around the East,” Smith noted.

Leveraging the World Cup in this manner and increasing access to winter sports competition for youth as well as for disabled individuals will result in more life-long participants in winter sports throughout the Northeast, a win-win for snow-sport enthusiasts and ski areas, organizers say.

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