Why kids want to be ski racing stars when they grow up

Posted By: The Ski Channel on March 22, 2010 10:03 am

This past weekend, a fundraiser was held at the Mount Pisgah Ski Center in Saranac Lake, New York for the Lift Mount Pisgah campaign. A half-dozen U.S. alpine ski team members, including Ted Ligety and Alice McKennis were on hand to sign autographs, support the campaign, and best of all, ski with bright-eyed, bushy tailed children. 5-year-old Morgan Olsen of Bloomdale was thrilled at the chance to meet Ligety. Her mom explained, “She is so excited because we follow all the races and talk about the U.S. Ski Team, and she was like ‘Ted’s here, Ted’s here’ and she ran right up to him,” Olsen said. “Now they’re going up the lift together. This whole experience has been very cool.”

Ligety recognized the dedication and passion the people of Mount Pisgah have, and he was thrilled to be a part of it. “I think it’s really cool to check out small ski areas like this,” he said. “There’s a lot of passion behind little places like this, and it’s a great place for getting kids started. I’m excited to be here.”

Alice McKennis, who made her Olympic debut this year, was happy to use her celebrity for such a good cause. “It’s really important to have places like this that are affordable, where families can ski together,” she said. “I’m having a really great time out here with the kids, watching them rip down the slalom course.”

The fundraiser was put together by the Friends of Mount Pisgah, with the proceeds going toward the group’s campaign to replace the 1940s-era T-bar at the ski center. More than 120 lift tickets were sold at $15 each, along with plenty of Lift Mount Pisgah T-shirts.

“Not only is it a great fundraiser for the lift project, but to have the visibility and exposure we’re getting because of the press, the TV crews, and the U.S. Ski Team talking about this place is amazing for a little mountain like this,” said Wayne Feinberg, president of the Friends of Mount Pisgah. “It’s also an amazing opportunity for these kids to meet these Olympians.”

Our friend Doug Haney, alpine press officer for the US team, also helped to coordinate the event, and was also thrilled with the outcome. “The Friends of Mount Pisgah had to be thrilled because the turnout was awesome,” he said. “From my side, the athletes had a great time. I think from all sides it was a great event.”

Other athletes who appeared, signed autographs, and skied with kids included Sarah Schleper, Will Brandenburg, Jimmy Cochran, Kaylin Richardson, Keely Kelleher and Andrew Weibrecht.

12-year-old Klem Hallagan pretty much summed up the feeling of all the kids that day: “It’s really cool. I want to be just like them. I want to be an Olympic ski racer”.