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14 Projects Receive American Birkebeiner Skier Development Grants

Wed, Dec  3, 2008 - By Cherie Morgan

Fourteen 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 $12,500 to programs around the country targeted to youth skiers.

“We received applications from 36 programs and awarded funding to 14, 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 $131,350 has been awarded to 140 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.

This year’s grant recipients include:
• Amherst After School Success Program, Stevens Point, WI
• Birchwood Schools, Birchwood, WI
• Blueberry Hill Ski Club, Brandon, VT
• Drummond Area Nordic Youth Ski League, Drummond, WI
• Ironwood Area Schools, Ironwood, MI
• Kimberly Area High School XC Ski Team, Kimberly, WI
• Minocqua Winter Park, Minocqua, WI
• School District of Greenwood, Greenwood, WI
• South High Nordic Booster Club, Minneapolis, MN
• Spooner High School Ski Team, Spooner, WI
• Team Gogebic, Ironwood, MI
• Twin City Catholic Educational System, Neenah, WI
• UW-Extension 4-H and Youth Development, Ashland, WI
• Wausau Nordic Ski Club, Wausau, WI

The American Birkebeiner celebrates its 36th anniversary from February 19-21, 2009. More than 7,000 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 14 programs funded by 2008 Skier Development grants.

“We offer a number of youth events including the Junior Birkie, the 5K and 10K Family Fun Events, Prince Haakon 8K, 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 2009 Skier Development grants, log on to http://www.birkie.com, email birkie@birkie.com or call 715/634-5025.

Birkie 2009 is sponsored by Subaru, Johnson Bank, Sawyer County Record and Superior Publishing, and other businesses throughout the region and country.