Wells Fargo Cup: America’s longest running pro ski race returns to Winter Park
Thousands will gather around the base of Winter Park Resort next week to celebrate the 43rd annual Wells Fargo Cup, the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s signature fundraiser and the longest running professional ski race in America.
“It’s by far our biggest event that we hold all winter,” said Steve Hurlbert, public relations officer and director of communications for Winter Park Resort. “It’s a major fundraiser for the National Sports Center for the Disabled, and it’s just one of the more inspirational events that you’ll ever find.
“We’ve got just incredible Paralympic athletes and some really amazing competition…It’s just a really fun four days here at the resort, and it benefits an incredible cause that’s near and dear to our hearts.”
The event is composed of three races including the Corporate Challenge, the Kids Snowplow Sprint, and the World Disabled Invitational.
There are 30 teams competing in this year’s Corporate Challenge, in which corporations purchase a team and race against each other head-to-head on a slalom course. Each team gets to compete with a world class Paralympic athlete on their team.
“The kicker is each team gets a ringer,” said Hurlbert. “It’s a really cool way to get the corporations involved and have people interact one-on-one with some of our athletes.”
The second competition is a kid’s race, which will allow children age 5-12 the opportunity to race against each other on the same slalom course as the adults. Any child is encouraged to compete, and there will also be visits from famous Colorado mascots like Miles from the Denver Broncos and Chip from the CU Buffs.
Finally, there is the World Disabled Invitational, which brings together some of the best-disabled athletes from all across the globe. This year will feature competitors from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Sweden and the United States.
The World Disabled Invitational also gives athletes the chance to compete out of their set classifications.
“In the Paralympics world they compete by their own classifications,” said Diane Eustace, operations and communications director for the NSCD. “So the sit-skiers, stand-skiers, snowboarders, visually impaired athletes and all the other classifications don’t ever really mix. This if fun for those guys because they get to mix it up.”
All races will be slalom style and will take place on Hughes Trail in the Winter Park Territory, offering viewing opportunities from the base of the resort. The event will also feature a silent auction, hospitality tent and a Ski for the NSCD pledge drive.
The cup is the year’s biggest fundraiser for the NSCD. Last year over 5,000 people came out for the event, raising more than $230,000 for the NSCD.
“It’s very important to be able to have a fundraiser that combines funds for our recreation and our competitive programs with great visibility,” said Eustace. “It kind of takes over the base of Winter Park Resort. It’s not just the people who have signed on as sponsors or are participating in the event, but everyone who is at Winter Park that weekend learns a little bit more about the NSCD and what we do.”
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