Freestylists look for a little help
Ani Haas moved to Park City from Montana six years ago at age 15 in pursuit of a dream to make the U.S. Freestyle Ski Team.
This past year, she finally did it, but her journey is not over. As a member of the C Team, Haas isn’t one of the big names you’ll hear over the loudspeaker at the Deer Valley World Cup at the beginning of the year. She is still working her way up to the A-level team. But in the meantime, all that competing and training takes a lot of money. Which is why next Wednesday, Haas and her fellow team members will hold the U.S. Freestyle Fundraiser at Harry O’s.
"People think that being on the ski team means you travel and ski for free," Haas said. "I work two jobs."
The event is designed to be a big old party celebrating freestyle skiers. There will be raffles, giveaways, video footage of freestyle athletes competing and music by the Motherlode Canyon Band.
"We’re trying to put on a great night for the community," Haas said.
Members of the A team have also committed to help those on their team trying to rise to the top. Shannon Bahrke, who owns Silver Bean Coffee, has pledged support and donated lots of coffee for giveaways.
"She’s been really awesome helping us out with the whole thing," Haas said.
Haas and other C team members plan to spend much of night getting to know people and telling them more about their sport and their experiences.
"It helps to raise awareness," she said.
Haas said that this fundraiser will be about more than money. She also hopes to raise the community’s awareness of how much hard many athletes in the area work to make ends meet while also juggling a rigorous training and competition schedule. She estimates that each winter her expenses total about $10,000.
"We’re left to try and be creative," she laughs.
At the same time, she realizes that the downturn in the economy has been hard on everyone. In light of that, everything at the fundraiser and reasonably priced and Haas is only asking that people donate within their means.
Haas and her freestyling friends were able to garner plenty of support for businesses that have provided helmets, goggles, skis, boots, T-shirts and other products for the giveaways and raffles. Cole Sport even donated an entire package of ski-related goodies and helped secure Motherlode as the performers.
"There were a lot of people who wanted to be part of putting this event on," Haas said.
The Freestyle Fundraiser will be held Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. at Harry O’s on Main Street. The cost for entry into the party is $10 per person or $40 for groups of five or more. Raffle tickets are $3 each. For more information, visit http://www.freestylefundraiser.com
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