New ski equipment a mission

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Temperatures may be in the 90s, but Tracy Rogalski has her mind on snow and skis.

Specifically, she wants to see shiny new cross-country skis and boots in place of the deteriorating equipment at Hayden Valley Elementary School.

Rogalski is working to raise money for new equipment in time for the school's ski program and budding Tiger Gliders Nordic Ski Club.

"I started this campaign because I've helped with the ski program, and the equipment is atrocious," she said.

The school's equipment, barely alive with glue and duct tape, is at least 10 years old, and some pieces are as old as the school's ski program -- about 25 years.

"I'm going to hang these as antiques on my fence with all the rest of my yard art," Rogalski said.

The school did not hold its ski program last winter because of a lack of snow and concerns about loose skis and flimsy boots. Even with plentiful snow next winter, the program likely won't be held unless students have new equipment, Rogalski said.

With the Hayden School District pressed for funding, she decided to go to the community and businesses for help.

The Steamboat Ski Touring Center has offered skis, bindings, boots and poles for $102 a set, about half of retail price. Rogalski is determining sizes and quantities needed, but she estimated the total cost at about $6,200.

The Babson Carpenter Foun-dation has offered a matching grant of all donations up to $3,100. The town of Hayden and a private contributor have pledged $850 to the effort.

The Tiger Glider Nordic Ski Club, which practices after school at a groomed track at Dry Creek Park across from the school, also will use the equipment. Parents and teachers created the club to give students an alternative to driving to Steamboat Springs for similar programs.

"We really believe in the tradition of skiing in our community," Rogalski said.

Rogalski hopes to raise the money by Oct. 1 so equipment can be ordered in time for the ski programs.

To contribute or help with the ski fund, call Rogalski at 276-3597.

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