Hal Stanley, of Bozeman, MT, has made a generous donation of $5,000 to the National Nordic Foundation’s 2011 Cross Country Pillar Projects to help tomorrow’s stars today.
Hay Stanley states, “Other than the US Ski Team, NNF is the only National Organization representing and helping fund Nordic Skiing in the US. I feel that our US Nordic athlete system kind of drops the ball on supporting and developing athletes beyond Junior Programs and College Programs. Basically if an athlete wants to continue racing in their mid to late twenties there is very little support other than a handful of club elite programs. Endurance athletes do not reach their prime until their late 20s or early 30s. The factory team programs were very helpful, but now they are pretty much gone. The USSA Nordic Ski Teams are only supporting a handful of elite racers. As a result I believe we lose talented skiers because they can’t afford to continue racing and living in poverty. Also, given the path potential athletes see and the odds of making the US Team, many never even pursue it.
“I love Nordic skiing and racing and think it is a fantastic sport for people of all abilities to pursue. I feel if the US had stronger elite programs and more high level racers competing and doing well against international competition, there would be more interest and participation in the sport, more money from donors and sponsors, and ultimately more success. Over the years that I have contributed to NNF, most of my contributions have gone to help skiers in these ages. NNF also helps junior athletes who qualify for Scando Cup and World Juniors. In many cases, these young people and their families could not afford to attend without NNF’s support. These are the skiers who have potential for being the elite athletes we need. International competition should help them develop and see the rewards for their hard work. Additionally, in some of the years that I helped with these programs, the US Ski Team was not even funding these competitions or the coaches who were needed to send a team. I don’t have enough money to try to have an impact on the US Ski Team’s efforts in Nordic racing, so NNF is a great vehicle for me to target my donations to where I think they are needed.”
National Nordic Foundation Director Dave Knoop states, “Hal gets it. The entire Nordic community should be extremely thankful for Hal’s ongoing contributions to the NNF and US Nordic Skiing. Furthermore the Bridger Ski Foundation’s Nordic Committee, on which Hal serves, has just placed an order for 210 NNF fundraising Calendars. There sales will return a $2000 profit for BSF and an additional profit for NNF that will both go back into supporting tomorrow’s stars today. Hals “gold level” contribution boosts the NNF’s fall fundraising campaign to over $40,000 in donations that will be invested in the NNF’s Cross Country or Nordic Combined Pillar Projects. “
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.