Scholarship Day to benefit sports club set for Wednesday

— Scholarship Day means something different to every skier.
For some, the day is simply a chance to hit the runs at the Steamboat Ski Area for a reduced cost of $15.
But to others, the day means the difference between skiing and not skiing. Former Winter Sports Club Director Roy Powell said the day has allowed some athletes, who may not have ever skied, to rise to the ranks of the U.S. Ski Team or the college level.
"It was the best thing Hahns Geier ever did," Powell said. "It's been a super success and has made a significant difference to so many kids in our community."
This year's Scholarship Day will take place on Wednesday. Skiers will pay just $15 to ski the day before Thanksgiving. The Steamboat Ski Area will donate the money it raises to the Winter Sports Club's Scholarship Fund.
"Typically we hand out $20,000 each year," current director Rick DeVos said. "That's enough to help 30 to 40 families in our community."
Winter Sports Club members must apply for the scholarships, which are awarded to the skiers showing the most need. In some cases, DeVos said, the club may fund a skier's entire cost of joining the club. In other cases, it might just be a portion of the fees.
"The Scholarship Fund fits our mission statement to a 'T,'" DeVos said. "We want to make skiing available to everyone in the community. This day and that fund makes it possible."
The Scholarship Day was first started in the early 1980s, said Powell, who was acting as director when the idea first surfaced.
Powell said at the time, the club was trying to build a better relationship with the ski area. Geier and several other ski area executives decided the Scholarship Day would be a unique way to give back to the community.
Powell said the extra money came as a huge boost to the Club's scholarship fund and has been a great resource ever since. The fund is also supported by the Moose is Loose tournament. That event raises between $5,000 and $6,000 each year.
"We had great snow, great timing and a great turnout that first year," Powell recalls of the first Scholarship Day.
He remembers raising in the neighborhood of $20,000 that first year. DeVos said the Scholarship Day's total has always raised between $10,000 and $25,000.
The amount depends a lot on the timing of the day and the amount of snow on the slopes. The past few years have been down, DeVos said. But he expects this year to be banner.
"It should be a good day," DeVos said. "It's the day before Thanksgiving and all the kids will be out of school. We are expecting it to be a big day."

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net

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