HAYWARD, Wis. – Thirteen youth cross country ski programs will get a boost this winter thanks to funding from the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF). The Foundation recently awarded $12,000 to programs around the country targeted to youth skiers.
“We received applications from 24 programs and awarded funding to 13, most of which are new or expanding programs to foster more kids getting involved in cross country skiing,” said Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the ABSF. “We’re hopeful many will get hooked on cross country skiing as a way to get outside, stay active and promote a healthy lifestyle.”
To date, more than $143,000 has been awarded to 153 ski clubs and organizations throughout the United States. ABSF Young Skier Grants support the creation or expansion of youth skier programs, purchase of “loaner” ski equipment for participants, purchase of ski hats and uniforms to foster team building and participation, and reduction of participant travel costs to ski events and clinics.
This year’s grant recipients include:
The American Birkebeiner celebrates its 37th anniversary from February 25-27, 2010. More than 7,500 skiers are expected to register for the American Birkebeiner 50K Skate and 54K Classic races and the 23-kilometer Kortelopet Skate and Classic races. Another 2,500 are expected for shorter races and events. Zuelsdorff hopes some of those skiers include youth from the 13 programs funded by 2009/2010 Young Skier Grants.
“We offer a number of youth events including the Barnebirkie, Junior Birkie, the 5K and 10K Family Fun Events, Prince Haakon 12K, and the 23K Kortelopet,” he said. “We encourage youth skiers, new skiers, and long-time skiers from the U.S. and abroad to join us for a really great week.”
Subaru, Becker Law, and the Sawyer County Record, and other businesses throughout the region and country sponsor the Birkie.