Mike Lane, public relations manager for Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., describes last Wednesday’s Scholarship Day as the perfect storm. But the conditions that led to a successful first day at Steamboat Ski Area had less to do with the weather than the amount of donations collected to help support the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund.
“We had wonderful blue sky and great snow conditions,” Lane said. “It all combined for a really nice opening and got us off to a great start.”
The day was not only perfect but record setting as well. Ski Corp.’s annual Scholarship Day raised a record $84.670 for the scholarship fund from the sale of the day's specially priced tickets. The previous record of $76,665 was set at the start of the 2010-11 season when ski and weather conditions were similar.
Last year, Scholarship Day pulled in $64,445 with 26 acres open for skiing. This year, the ski area had 735 acres open.
“Programs like Steamboat’s Scholarship Day are a rarity in the industry,” SSWSC Executive Director Jim Boyne said in a news release. “We’re thankful and proud that the Steamboat Ski Area, together with broad support from our community, continues to contribute so much to our Routt County youth and the Winter Sports Club. During this milestone season, the Club looks forward to partnering with Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. to strive to ensure another 100 years of training our athletes across the Yampa Valley to compete at the highest levels and develop life skills to be the best they can be both on and off the slopes.”
According to a news release issued by the ski area, Steamboat’s Scholarship Day program has generated annually between $12,006 to a record $84,670 for a total of $842,111 over the past 23 years. The fund, which provides financial support to children participating in club programs, is housed with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, which manages over 130 donor funds from scholarships to legacy endowments. For those who missed Scholarship Day, contributions to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Scholarship Fund can be made year-round through the Yampa Valley Community Foundation at www.yvcf.org.
Last year, the Winter Sports Club awarded 86 scholarships for a total of $45,000. Boyne said that scholarships are based on need and how many athletes meet that criteria.
"We want to fund as many children as possible," Boyne said. "The amount we award is based on need — not how much we raised."
The scholarship fund is supported mainly by Scholarship Day, but not entirely. The Moose is Loose Golf Tournament also supports the fund, and some private donors request that the money they give goes directly to scholarships.
"This year's record Scholarship Day contribution demonstrates the true spirit of Steamboat-Ski Town USA," Ski Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Diamond said in the news release. "We can’t thank the community enough for their continued support of Scholarship Day and the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Scholarship Day 2013 was an incredible season opener and helped set the tone for a season.”
Lane said that snow conditions generally help increase numbers for Scholarship Day, and that this year was no exception. However, he said public support for the event always has been strong.
As of Monday, the terrain open at the ski area has increased to 998 acres, 68 trails and five chairlifts.
Lane said the ski area is expecting favorable conditions this week with colder temperatures and more snow on the horizon.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966