Alliance relies on the Jans Winter Welcome to give sports opportunities to local youths |

Alliance relies on the Jans Winter Welcome to give sports opportunities to local youths

This year’s Jans Winter Welcome will be a little different than in the past.

The big change is that the event, which is the Youth Sports Alliance’s biggest fundraiser of the year, will be held at the Stein Eriksen Lodge on Saturday, Oct. 25, instead of the Silver Lake Lodge.

"The Silver Lake Lodge is a wonderful venue and Deer Valley has been so gracious to us over the years, but we have sold out the past five or six years," said Aimee Preston, executive director of the Youth Sports Alliance (YSA). "Stein Eriksen Lodge recently renovated its facilities, and it is a beautiful place that allows us to accommodate more people."

The new venue also complements a recent development within the Youth Sports Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports winter-sports activities for youth in Summit and Wasatch counties.

"Last April we announced the Stein Eriksen YSA Opportunity Endowment," Preston said. "He’s teamed with us to offer funds to more kids in the community so they have an opportunity to experience winter sports. This is his legacy."

So this year’s Winter Welcome will not only help raise funds for the endowment but also for 13 winter-sports teams in the community, according to Preston.

The teams are Axis Freestyle, Figure Skating Club of Park City, Park City Freestyle, Park City Ice Miners, Park City Ski Team, Park City Snowboard Team, Park City Speedskating Club, Summit Ski Team and the five at the Utah Olympic Park — G-Force Bobsled and Skeleton, Fly Freestyle, Park City Nordic Ski Club, Wasatch Freestyle and the Wasatch Luge Club.

"We have 2,000 kids who are able to participate in our programs and all the teams collaborate on this event to earn enough money so they can provide top-notch programming," Preston explained. "The event also raises money for scholarships that we offer to kids who could not otherwise participate in these programs. Some of the money is also used to help those who have qualified in international-level events so they can continue to compete."

The evening will include a sit-down dinner catered by Stein Eriksen Lodge and live entertainment, but the highlight will be the opportunity drawing.

"The opportunity drawing is for a ‘bucket-list trip,’" Preston said. "In the past, we’ve sent people to the Kentucky Derby and last year we sent people to the Masters golf tournament. And this year, we’re very excited to present the 2015 Monte Carlo Grand Prix."

The package will include:

  • Airline travel allowance up to $5,000
  • Three nights in a sea-view room at the five-star Palais de la Mediterranée
  • Daily breakfast
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi, gym and pool pass
  • Friday welcome dinner
  • Admission to the Saturday and Sunday Formula One races
  • Grand Prix Tour gift package with a Grand Prix representative

    The total value of the package is more than $14,000, Preston said.

    "We have a Formula racing theme mixed with a James Bond and Monte Carlo Casino theme planned for the night," Preston said. "At the same time that the drawing winners will be in France, the Cannes Film Festival will be happening 30 to 40 minutes away."

    Admission tickets to the Winter Welcome are $250 each and opportunity-drawing tickets are $50 each.

    "If people buy more than $100 worth of drawing tickets, they will be entered into another drawing for multiple prizes including a complete ski package donated by Jans and a full season pass from Park City Mountain Resort," Preston said. "And winners don’t need to be present to win."

    There are many ways to donate and be a part of the opportunity drawing. People can go to , or purchase drawing tickets at the event.

    "They can also purchase tickets from any of the 13 teams," Preston said.

    In addition to the opportunity drawing, Jans Winter Welcome will also include silent and live auctions, casino games and a car simulator.

    "One of the auction items is another Monte Carlo trip," Preston said. "Those that don’t win the ‘bucket list’ opportunity drawing will still have a chance to bid on another trip."

    Other auction items include a chairman suite at the Venetian in Las Vegas that includes dinner and event tickets, heliskiing tours from Powderbird Helicopter Skiing, a day of snowboarding with Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg, tickets to the Victoria’s Secret Angels Fashion Show in London from the Park City Ice Skating Club and a paid-trip for sessions Skip Barber Racing School in Atlanta.

    In addition, Canyons is offering first tracks along with a stay in a four-bedroom suite at the Waldorf Astoria and YSA coach Dar Hendrickson, who is a chef, will cater a private party that will include pairings with Napa Valley wines, according to Preston.

    Along with the drawings and auctions, an array of winter-sport athletes, including Olympic gold medalist Joss Christensen, Olympic gold and silver medalist Derek Para, Olympic silver medalist Devin Logan, Paralympic gold, silver and bronze medalist Stephani Victor, three-time Olympian Emily Cook and Olympian Sarah Hendrickson, who was the first woman to ski jump in any Olympic game.

    The night will be emceed by Olympic silver medalist Shannon Bahrke.

    "I’ve been involved with Jans Winter Welcome for some time and was first invited as an athlete," Bahrke said during a phone interview from the road on the way to Moab. "Three years ago, I was asked to be on the board, so this is a natural fit for me. I mean I love talking and feel very comfortable in front of people."

    Bahrke said the best part of raising the funds is giving the money to the teams.

    "I grew up in Lake Tahoe in California, which is very similar to Park City," she said. "It’s a mountain town but compared to Park City, it had less people and was a little more hippie.

    "My brother and I skied all the time and I wish there was some support for my parents back then," Bahrke said. "We never went on family vacations, because every dollar went to my family, and I think that it would have been amazing to have some extra that would go to my dues for my freestyle team or help once I made the U.S. Nationals."

    She also likes that the Winter Welcome clears up some misconceptions about families who live in Park City.

    "I think many people think that Park City has all these families who are well off, and it’s so not that way," she said. "When we go through the grant applications, we all break down in tears, because of the challenges these families face, whether they are struggling with medical bills or loss of jobs. This is when we all sit down and see how important it is to raise the money."

    Preston agreed and said the YSA has touched the community in impressive ways.

    "We had 18 athletes who have benefited from YSA compete in the Olympics in Sochi this year," she said.

    Some of those athletes include Ted Ligety, Sage Kotsenberg, Joss Christensen, Steve Holcomb and Sarah Hendrickson.

    "The funding we receive at the event is truly going to a good cause," Preston said. "Many of the kids don’t have the opportunity to have these experiences without the money we’re raising."

    The 34th Jans Winter Welcome, a benefit for the Youth Sports Alliance, will be held on Saturday, Oct. 25, at Stein Eriksen Lodge, 7700 Stein Way at Deer Valley, from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. Tickets are $250 per person. Visit or call 435-214-0792 for more information or to purchase tickets.

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