Coming off the heels of an ultra-successful 2010 Winter Olympics, it would be easy for some national ski and snowboard organizations to slump or lose a bit of that Olympic momentum heading into the new year. After all, the next set of the Winter Games doesn’t happen again until 2014, which on the surface might seem far away. However, for those involved with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) there is no off-season; non-Olympic years are just as important. To keep the program at the highest level takes not only an incredible amount of hard work, but some serious financial backing as well.
With this idea in mind, each fall during the lead-up to the World Cup season and other major contests, the USSA hosts a fall benefit tour chalked full of amazing parties, with the goal to not only offer a good time, but to also ensure athletes will be supported for generations to come.
Photo: Some of USSA’s 2010 Olympic crew pose for on-lookers
On that note, the greater Los Angeles area was treated yesterday to the latest USSA benefit, hosted at the Pritzker compound in Topanga Canyon, not far from Malibu. The event, aptly titled “The Journey Continues,” once again saw top athletes and insiders mingling including the likes of USSA CEO Bill Marolt and Ski Channel Chairman/CEO Steve Bellamy.
But considering L.A. is “Tinsel Town” after all, this fundraiser naturally also drew hordes of celebrities. Making their way around the event were stars such as Kelly Osbourne, who reunited with fellow “Dancing With the Stars” alum and Olympian Louie Vito, and Melissa Joan Hart.
Besides boasting an A-list crowd, the event site was top-notch as usual. The Pritzkers played host once again at the former Topanga nudist colony, but everyone still managed to keep their “Country Club Casual” attire on throughout the event.
And since this was a Southern California ski and snowboard event, it wouldn’t feel right if SoCal’s favorite ski resort wasn’t involved. Of course I’m talking about Mammoth Mountain!
The Mammoth crew brought the party down to L.A. yet again complete with a roster of all their top riders, and even crafted the ultimate summer setup – a snowy course filled with various rails, boxes, and sledding arenas. Folks such as Atomic Skis pro Chris Benchetler were on hand giving some useful tips to the kids, and making sure the snow park remained in immaculate condition.
Coming off a smash event in San Francisco, the USSA crew simply remain on a roll heading into the trio of galas in Boston, New York City and Chicago.
If you are interested in attending these upcoming events or extending your support for these organizations and athletes, please log on to www.ussa.org/foundation and donate.