A FULL CUP: NSCD hits $250,000 mark at Wells Fargo Ski Cup | SkyHiNews.com

A FULL CUP: NSCD hits $250,000 mark at Wells Fargo Ski Cup

A skier moves through the slalom course at the bottom of Hughes Trail in the Winter Park Territory. Behind him, the giant Wells Fargo Ski Cup signage clearly visible from the base of the mountain.
Sawyer D’Argonne | Sky-Hi News |

Thousands came out to Winter Park Resort to support the National Sports Center for the Disabled during the 43rd Annual Wells Fargo Ski Cup this weekend. The three-day event kicked off with a beautiful day on Friday as racers prepared to brave brutal weather conditions on Saturday and Sunday for the Corporate Challenge and World Disabled Invitational.

The first day of the competition included qualifying runs for the Corporate Challenge, allowing racers to get accustomed to their teammates as well as the slalom course running down the bottom of Hughes Trail of the Winter Park Territory.

The Corporate Challenge brought together 30-teams assembled by corporations from around the state who purchased a team to support the NSCD. Each team was composed of six members, and qualifying runs determined when each member’s gate was opened. The people who finished qualifying runs the fastest were the last to start their runs in the competition, in an attempt to even the field. Each team also competed alongside an NSCD athlete.

“It’s an awesome event,” said Jasmin Bambur, a sit-skier who is heading to his third Paralympic games on March 3. “Wells Fargo is doing so much for the NSCD and the disabled community all over the United States.

“The event is absolutely awesome. There are drinks everywhere and people are happy. Some of them can actually really ski, which is a little surprising. I won my runs, and I’m happy about that, but maybe these guys can push a little harder to catch up.”

The second day of the competition brought four new inches of snow, freezing winds and the Corporate Challenge.

After hours on the course, the field was whittled down to three teams: the Future Leaders 2, the Wells Fargo Wheels and Ski for NSCD. In the end the Future Leaders 2 team, comprised of David Urban, Chris Milton, Caroline Cryer, Betsy Wagner, Dan Konecny and NSCD athlete Gerald Hayden won the challenge.

“We’re happy to be involved,” said Milton. “This is a great playing field. We really even the field here, and get everyone involved. It’s a lot of fun.”

The third day of the competition again brought brutal weather, but that didn’t stop racers from strapping in for the Kids Snowplow Spring and the Sarah Holm Memorial World Disabled Invitational.

The day started early, with the Kids Snowplow Sprint pitting children in a head-to-head race down the same slalom course the adults used for their competition. The World Disabled Invitational kicked off shortly after, bringing together some of the world’s best disabled athletes from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Sweden and the United States.

Australian Michael Foti won the event, followed by NSCD athlete Katrina Schraber, two-time Paralympian and Granby skier Ian Jansing, and 2018 Team USA Paralympian Tyler Carter.

On top of the races, the event also included ice sculpting, a silent auction tent, hospitality tent and more all to support the NSCD. Diane Eustace, operations and communications director for the NSCD, said they issues nearly 5,000 credentials for the event between racers and volunteers. She also said that while they don’t know the exact net amount of money raised for the NSCD this year, they are at least on track to meet last year’s mark of $250,000.

“It is such an honor,” said Kim Easton, president and CEO of the NSCD. “I’ve been in nonprofits for a long time, and I’ve done a lot of events. But this one has a different feel, and a different energy. The way that we huddle in the tents when it’s cold, and the way we cheer on the athletes is really special. It really brings us together.”

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