This weekend’s World Cup at Killington is expected to boost excitement among existing skiers. But one group also believes it can help create new skiers.
Industry observers say that’s important since US skier numbers have declined since 2010
Phil Gross, chairman of the newly formed Killington World Cup Committee, says it's raised more than $400,000 selling VIP access to the upcoming races.
About half the money will be used to help Killington host the event. The other half will fund efforts to promote adaptive skiing and riding programs to help the disabled, as well as other youth racing and learn-to-ski programs to help grow the sport.
“So it’s not getting a thousand kids to the mountain for one day,” says Gross. “But getting a thousand kids to the mountain for four or five days so they actually learn how to ski.”
For example, he says he’s hopeful different school systems or even a Boys and Girls Club that’s near a mountain would say, “let’s put something in place so that all of our sixth graders can get exposure to the mountain for four or five days." And then he expects the organizations to propose to the Killington World Cup Committee to say, "let’s run a pilot for this and see if we can get it to work."
Added Gross: “That would be fantastic whether it happens in Springfield, Mass. or Rutland or outside Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.”
He says the funds will also be used to enhance the permanent ski and snowboard racing and training infrastructure in the Northeast to improve competitiveness of athletes in the region.
Gross says they’ll be accepting grant proposals through January 15.