HAYWARD, Wis., November 17, 2010 – Twenty 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 $15,000 to programs around the country targeted to youth skiers.
“We received applications from 51 programs and awarded funding to 20, 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 $160,000 has been awarded to over 170 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 scholarship programs to support young athlete participation in youth ski organizations. In addition, $1,000 is provided, each year, to the Hayward High School and Middle School cross country ski teams.
This year’s grant recipients include:
The American Birkebeiner celebrates its 38th anniversary from February 24-26, 2011. More than 8,000 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 20 programs funded by 2010/2011 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.”