Ski Ball season kicks off in Boston
It's Ski Ball season for the U.S. Ski Team. kicking off this week in Boston. Ranging from black tie galas to backyard BBQ’s and stretching from Boston to California, Chicago and New York, the Ski Balls provide the opportunity for the athletic stars to meet with the public and rub elbows with the folks who help support them.
"The Balls are a great chance for the U.S. Ski Team and U.S Snowboarding families to spend time with the people who have supported us throughout the years," said two-time World Champion Lindsey Vonn, among the athlete headliners at the kickoff New England Ski and Snowboard Ball in Boston Wednesday (Sept. 30). "We can celebrate the things we have all accomplished and work together for a great future."
Joining Vonn for Wednesday's New England event will be freestyle moguls World Champion Hannah Kearney, Olympic gold medalist Ross Powers, and Paralympic champion Alison Jones, plus past Olympic medalists Billy Kidd and Travis Mayer.
The Team's unique events date back to the 1960s when innovative New York businessmen J. Negley "Cookie" Cooke, Ralph "Doc" DesRoches and others began the New York Ski Ball. Today, the New York Ski and Snowboard Ball remains the granddaddy of them all and one of the highlights of Ball season.
Today, the Team's galas in Boston, California's Bay Area, New York and Chicago, along with private fundraising events in Dallas, Los Angeles and other markets, help raise millions of dollars to support athletes in their quest to achieve lifetime dreams and goals in Vancouver.
"As an athlete, you commit to a lifetime dedicated to training and preparation for that one day in Vancouver," said Trace Worthington, Vice President of the team‘s foundation. "And it's not just dedication by athletes – it's a lifetime commitment from family, friends and fans to helping these athletes achieve excellence at the Olympics.
"The need to support America's athletes is greater than ever before," said Worthington. "And as our supporters meet these men and women at our Balls, they get to see firsthand that dedication, passion and commitment – and how much their support is valued."
In addition to financing expenses for coaches and athlete travel to camps and competitions, Worthington noted three other critical areas where support is paramount: sports science - developing scientific training programs for individual athletes in each sport and use of technology to devise strategies for improvement; sports medicine - for the prevention of and rehabilitation from injury; and sports education, critical to future success.
"The Balls are a great time for us, as athletes, to connect with the people who support our Team and who help contribute to our efforts," said nordic combined World Champion Billy Demong. "It is always a lot of fun to get together and help share the evening with some people who are excited about what we do."
"It's a good way to meet existing U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding supporters face-to-face and try to generate new supporters as well," said snowboardcross athlete Nate Holland.
"The Balls are a great opportunity to enjoy ourselves and mingle with ski enthusiasts," said freestyle aerials World Champion Ryan St. Onge. "It's also an opportunity for us to support the Team's fundraising in order to get us what we need to be our best."
St. Onge often does double duty at balls, shaking hands and greeting fans, but also flipping and flying in the Flying Ace All Stars trampoline show. Each year the All Stars find new and exciting tricks in the multiple-trampoline show, an action-packed 15 minutes.
"The next four months are pivotal for these athletes," said Worthington. "Each athlete and their family has committed a lifetime to representing their sport and country at the Olympics. They're Vancouver Bound, but only if the support of our nation is behind them."