The leaves are changing colors, the nights are cool and frost is starting to appear on the car in the morning. U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding athletes are wrapping up Southern Hemisphere on-snow camps. Yes, summer is coming to an end. Winter is only a couple months away and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assocation is ready to welcome the 2010-11 season with Balls and Benefits.
From the west coast to Boston, and Chicago to New York, Olympic athletes will stage reunions all fall to both celebrate success and help raise money for the future.
“The past year has been a historic one for USSA athletes, winning 21 medals in Vancouver,” said Vice President, Foundation Trace Worthington. “We want to take the time and celebrate our accomplishments, but also to look ahead. It’s important right now to raise the money to sustain that success. The ski and snowboarding balls and benefits are the perfect transition into the season.”
There’s no secret that the balls and benefits are strategically planned fundraisers for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team Foundation. But they’re fun social events attracting fans young and old alike. This year’s overlying theme, ‘The Journey Continues,’ sets the pathway for the season ahead and on to Sochi in 2014. But there will be challenges to overcome to sustain that excellence. Still, after a historic Olympics, the U.S. athletes have 21 reasons to celebrate and will be doing just that at each of the five balls and benefits starting in late September and continuing through November.
“A night at one of the events is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Olympic double medalist Shannon Bahrke, who plans to attend three events this year. “It’s one big party and by the end of the night everyone has made new best friends. It is very special for us as athletes because we get to meet the people who really help us achieve our goals.”
The west coast kicks-off the fall ball schedule with two events scheduled for back-to-back weekends in California. The Bay Area Benefit in the heart of Silicon Valley, hosted by Foundation Board of Trustee members Doug Mackenzie and Geoff Yang with the help of Olympic champion Julia Mancuso and Dancing with the Stars celebrity turned Olympian Louie Vito, kicks off the fall Sept. 25 followed by the Los Angeles event Oct. 3, that attracted a star studded crowd last year including Pamela Anderson, chaired by Jeanne and Tony Pritzker.
Our exclusive video of Pamela Anderson snowboarding at last year’s event:
The celebration travels across the country to Boston Oct. 6 where a lineup of four Olympian championships will highlight the New England Ski and Snowboard Ball on Oct. 6 with Trustees Bob Reynolds and Phill Gross heading the event, along with Olympic gold medalists Hannah Kearney, Seth Wescott, Ted Ligety and Ross Powers.
From one great city to the next, the balls move south once again for the legendary New York Ski and Snowboard Ball, Nov. 4, fronted by Foundation Trustees David Henle and Steven Hankin and welcoming over a dozen Olympic medalists. The ball will be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, where guests can look forward to a live auction, a spectacular Flying Ace All Stars performance, a special guest MC, Olympic medalist Jonny Moseley as well as excellent company with the likes of Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn, Billy Demong, and Kelly Clark among others.
The New York event is the granddaddy of them all, now in its 42nd season. Cameras will be rolling as Team Audis will roll up to the red carpet on New York’s West 34th Street for the gala celebration.
“It’s fun to see people that I otherwise wouldn’t get to see,” said Olympic medalist and two-time overall World Cup champion Miller, who attended the New York Ski Ball last year and is on the list of attending athletes again for this year. “We get to see some influential industry leaders, we really appreciate the help.”
The events wrap-up on Nov. 12 with the windy city’s Chicago Ski and Snowboarding Ball, co-chaired by the Julie and Brian Simmons and Jacolyn and John Bucksbaum. The Flying Ace All Stars will follow the schedule west, closing out the five-stop tour with a memorable performance. The event will also hold an elaborate silent auction with unique items from the Chicago area.
“People should come, it’s your chance to meet all of the athletes you see on the hill and on TV and get to find out how much fun we really are and that your donations go a long way!” said Bahrke. “I can’t tell you how happy and excited I was to get emails from all of the people I met at the ski and snowboard balls after I won my bronze medal in Vancouver. It was a very special moment for me because I knew those emails came from people (and now friends) who I wouldn’t have met if it were not for the ski and snowboard balls and benefits.”
For information about the ski and snowboard balls and benefits, such as auction items, attending athletes and event details, go to the USSA website. To become part of the Team and donate, go to USSA donations.
2010-11 U.S. Ski and Snowboarding Balls and Benefits Schedule
Sat., Sept. 25, Bay Area Ski and Snowboarding Benefit, Atherton, CA
Sun., Oct. 3, Los Angeles Ski and Snowboarding Benefit, Topanga, CA
Wed, Oct. 6, New England Ski and Snowboarding Ball, Boston
Thurs., Nov. 4, New York Ski and Snowboarding Ball, New York City
Fri., Nov. 12 Chicago Ski and Snowboarding Ball, Chicago