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16 Projects Receive American Birkebeiner Skier Development Grants

Sat, Dec  1, 2007 - By Leslie Hamp

HAYWARD, Wis., November 27, 2007 – Sixteen 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 $13,850 to programs around the country targeted to youth skiers.

“We received applications from 24 programs and awarded funding to 16, mostly to allow the purchase of loaner ski equipment to enable more kids to get involved in cross country skiing,” said Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the ABSF. “We’re hopeful many will get hooked and adopt cross country skiing as a way to get outside and stay in shape.”

To date, more than $118,850 has been awarded to 126 ski clubs and organizations throughout the United States. ABSF Skier Development grants fund 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.

Current grant recipients include:

• Anoka High School Nordic Ski Team, Anoka, MN
• Blackhawk Ski Club, Middleton, WI and Madison Nordic Ski Club, Madison, WI
• Chequamegon Area Nordic Ski Club, Ashland, WI
• Conserve School, Land O’ Lakes, WI
• Drummond Area Nordic Youth Ski League, Drummond, WI
• Duluth Public Middle Schools, Duluth, MN
• Eau Claire Ski Striders, Eau Claire, WI
• Fredenberg Flyers Ski Club, Duluth, MN
• Friends of Cricket Hill Ski Club, Hyde Park, VT
• Grand Mesa Nordic Council, Cory, CO
• Mecca Cross Country Ski Club, Mercer, WI
• Minocqua Winter Park, Minocqua, WI
• Moose Pass School, Moose Pass, AK
• Salcha Ski Club, Salcha, AK
• Spooner High School XC Ski Team, Spooner, WI
• The Utah Nordic Alliance, Salt Lake City, UT

The American Birkebeiner celebrates its 35th anniversary from February 21-23, 2008. More than 7,000 skiers are expected to register for the 51-kilometer American Birkebeiner and 23-kilometer Kortelopet. Another 2,000 are expected for shorter races and events. Zuelsdorff hopes some of those skiers include youth from the 16 programs funded by 2007 Skier Development grants.

“We offer a number of youth events including the Junior Birkie, the CheqTel 5K and 10K, 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.”

To learn more about North America’s largest and most prestigious cross country ski race and 2008 Skier Development grants, log on to http://www.birkie.com, email birkie@birkie.com or call 715/634-5025.

Sponsors of Birkie 2008 include Subaru, State Bank of Drummond, Cable Chamber of Commerce, Johnson Bank, Sawyer County Record and Superior Publishing, and other businesses throughout the region and country.