$20,000 raised for disabled ski program | TahoeDailyTribune.com

$20,000 raised for disabled ski program

The second annual Disabled Sports Ski Challenge last week at Alpine Meadows raised nearly $20,000 to support the programs of Disabled Sports USA Far West.

Approximately 20 teams participated in Saturday’s events, which included a giant slalom ski race and a poker run.

Each team was paired with a disabled ski racer.

“We had a great day and raced for a great cause,” said Mark Wellman, a disabled ski racer, in a written statement.

Wellman spent the day racing with “The Skeleton Crew,” the team that tied for second place with “Go for Broke.”

Last week’s event raised funds to support the nationwide nonprofit, Disabled Sports USA Far West. Special events raise about 20 percent of the nonprofit’s total budget, said President Doug Pringle.

“It’s not always about the total amount of money you raise,” Pringle said in a phone interview Monday. “Some of it is a way to celebrate your accomplishments.”

This year marked the second ski challenge. And judging by the enthusiasm at the event, it will continue for years to come, organizers said.

“It’s only getting bigger and better,” said Matt Strugar-Fritsch, spokesman for Disabled Sports. “Just about everybody who was there expressed interest in being there again.”

The ski challenge also offers an avenue for various groups to participate and support Disabled Sports, Pringle said.

“A big part of it is involving donors and sponsors in touching the heart of the program,” Pringle said. “In a sense, raising the morale of the troops.”

The four-person teams were sponsored by businesses and ski clubs based out of Reno and the Bay Area, including Sierra Regional Spine Institute, Bertoluccis Body Shop, Sunrise O&P, Rockwell Collins and Charity Smith National Society of Memorial Funds, Strugar-Fritsch said. Entry fees were $800 per team.

“This event fulfills the mission of Disabled Sports in numerous ways,” said Program Director Haakon Lang-Ree, in a written statement. “The disabled skiers who race with us also learned to ski with us, so their participation functions as a showcase of ability.”

The Alpine Meadows-based adaptive ski school is the oldest ski program for people with disabilities in the country, Pringle said. It was formed by a group of Vietnam veterans in 1967.

For more information on adaptive lessons and programs offered by Disabled Sports USA, call (530) 581-4161.

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