US Ski Team to Honor Alums at Birkebeiner Race

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Hayward, WI Feb. 21--Top former members of the U.S. Ski Team will be honoredannually at the American Birkebeiner race in a new program announced bythe Team. The awards program is part of a new initiative by the U.S. SkiTeam to honor its past stars. The program will debut at theBirkebeiner*s annual Worldloppet Dinner Thursday, Feb. 24 at TheLakewoods near Cable.

*We*re very excited about the opportunity to honor our athletes atAmerica*s greatest cross country ski race,* said U.S. Ski Team CrossCountry Director Luke Bodensteiner, himself a former Olympian andBirkebeiner participant. *We hope that this program will also attractmany of our past U.S. Ski Team members to return and ski in the raceevery year.*

The U.S. Ski Team*s new alumni program was conceived by U.S. Ski andSnowboard Association President and CEO Bill Marolt, a former alpineOlympian. The program is designed to eventually honor the more than1,000 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team alumni for their participation on theTeam. Each alum will receive a unique leather alumni jacket and a plaquehonoring their achievement. Eligible alumni include any past member of anamed U.S. Ski Team A, B or C team, plus members of Olympic and WorldChampionship Teams.

*Our U.S. Ski Team alumni are our best future promoters of our sport,*said Marolt. *We should honor them for their achievements and encouragethem to stay involved with their sport. I*m very excited to see usinitiating this program for our cross country skiers at the AmericanBirkebeiner.

The U.S. Ski Team plans to make this an annual event, encouraging itsalumni to return to the American Birkebeiner to receive their awards.The Team expects to honor around a dozen past members of the team in itsinaugural program later this month.

Alumni who would like more information on the program can contact theU.S. Ski Team*s alumni program, managed through the U.S. Ski andSnowboard Team Foundation, by calling Genevieve Kiley at 435.647.2073.