9-11 Impacts Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation | TahoeDailyTribune.com

9-11 Impacts Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation

Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation is entering its 46th year of athletic development. Previously known as the Blue Angels, this program has grown from an Alpine racing program to include outstanding freestyle and snowboard teams.

But that program is in the midst of its biggest financial struggle in years.

Only two weeks ago, Noel Dufty, program director, was notified that the foundation’s Workers Comp Insurance would increase from $22,000 to $60,000 due to post “9-11” effects. This came as a shock to the program and is causing a financial crisis that may threaten the future of this long-running program.

“We are trying to get to the point where we have enough money raised to have scholarships and cover travel costs so that the kids who want to do it, and may not have the opportunity, can,” Dufty said. “This 9-11 has stalled us a bit.”

Dufty expects other athletic foundations to experience the same problems shortly.

The Ski Foundation presently has 170 athletes ranging in age from 5 to 20. During the 2002 season three athletes qualified for the Alpine national championship, 11 for the Junior Olympics, one for the freestyle junior world championships in Finland, eleven for the junior snowboard nationals and one for the junior world snowboard championships in New Zealand.

The team is obviously proud of their five alumni who have risen to the top of the American racing and competition scene with the U.S. Ski team: Jonna Mendes, Wisi Beschart, Alicia Howard, Brooke Ballachey and Chris Hernandez.

Although parents pay tuition for their children’s participation in this program, the fees do not cover the majority of expenses. The program is dependent on the nonprofit contributions that maintain the program. Each year the board and parents have three major fund-raisers that have become classic Tahoe events: Ski Swap, Winter Welcome and the Wine Tasting at Edgewood.

Next week is the 15th annual Winter Welcome. This event features silent and live auctions, a gourmet dinner buffet and dancing. Come and support these young athletes at this year’s holiday party. For additional information or to make a donation, please call (530) 541-7354.

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