ORLANDO, FL – The journey of the 17 U.S. skiers and snowboarders who won Olympic medals in Vancouver was long, starting at their local resorts. Olympic champion Hannah Kearney, who grew up skiing at New Hampshire’s Waterville Valley, will bring her gold medal to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) convention in Orlando to say thank you.
Kearney will attend the May 2-6 meeting at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, giving out posters to attendees and signing autographs.
“I was thinking recently about the long journey I’ve had from my early days skiing for fun to my first competitions and onto the medals stand in Vancouver,” said Kearney, who had another dream come true recently when she threw out a first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game. “To reach my own goal took a lot of support from my family, friends, coaches and ski industry leaders who introduce kids to the sport at your local area.
“I just want to say thank you!”
The hundreds of NSAA resorts nationwide play many roles in the success of U.S. Olympians. “Local areas are essential to our athletic pipeline, providing a playing field for our 425 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) clubs,” said USSA Vice President, Athletics Luke Bodensteiner. “They play a key role in the success of athletes like Hannah, and can be proud of the role they’ve played in the success of our team in Vancouver.”
Elite athletic programs also get a boost from the NSAA/U.S. Ski Team Gold Pass. Included with the Team’s Summit Club fundraising program, the fully-transferable unlimited lift pass is one of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team’s largest money raisers for a Team that gets no government support.
NSAA resorts also played a major role in the lead up to the Olympics, with qualifying events held at nine areas – some with as many as 20,000 spectators and all with national television coverage on NBC and Versus.
Alpine World Cup events took place at both Aspen and Beaver Creek in Colorado, while Steamboat Springs played host to the freestyle and nordic combined Olympic Trials. Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix events were held at Copper Mountain, CO, Mammoth Mountain, CA and Park City Mountain Resort, UT. Telluride, CO hosted snowboardcross and parallel giant slalom World Cups. Utah’s Deer Valley Resort and the Olympic village of Lake Placid, NY held freestyle World Cups.
“Every resort that hosts a USSA club, holds USSA competitions or supports the Gold Pass makes a difference for us as athletes,” said Kearney. “It means a lot to us!”
Kearney will be available in the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding tradeshow booth from noon to 1:00 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday (May 3).