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The U.S. Ski Team's Ball Kicks off Olympic Season

The U.S. Ski Team's Ball Kicks off Olympic Season

[ November 2, 2009 - 3:19pm ]
Jeret Speedy Peterson & Ryan St. Onge
Dek: 
Guys in tights on a trampoline, a one-legged skier from Brooklyn, a Bono lookalike, and more antics from the U.S. Ski Team's Ball, a fundraiser for their trip to the Olympics. Our blogger following the U.S. Ski Team, Kelley McMillan, reports from New York.

It might be hard to take two men wearing skin tight suits double bouncing each other on a trampoline seriously, but it was nothing but respect when U.S. Freestyle Ski Team members Ryan St. Onge and Jeret “Speedy” Peterson busted synchronized 720s and back flips in the middle of a banquet hall full of tables adorned with glasswear and cocktail-clad gapers (see video below). Welcome to the kickoff of the Olympic party season—the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s New York Ski and Snowboard Ball, held last Thursday night. With Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Games just around the corner, the event brings together ski team stars with their deep-pocketed supporters for an evening of canoodling, fine dining, and fundraising. 

In circus master style, Tom Kelly, VP of communications for the U.S. Ski Team, trotted the athletes on stage like shiny show ponies: the newly reinstated Bode Miller, mogul maven turned perfumer Michelle Roark, and ski crosser Casey Puckett, among others.  Who wouldn’t feel a cheesy surge of patriotism as Kelly announced the athletes’ respective accolades while lining them up against the backdrop of the good, ol’ red, white and blue. True to their ski bum roots, the guys looked like they’d grabbed their cleanest, crumpled shirt from the hamper. 

On stage Bode cited fitness as his main challenge at the moment. “I’m not as young as I used to be,” he bemoaned. The crowd hollered when he announced that he expects to be in full form come Beaver Creek’s Birds of Prey.

Rocking a fedora, adaptive skier and Bed Stuy local Ralph Green gave a big shout out to his home town crew. How a one-legged guy from Brooklyn made it to the Olympic ski team is a whole other story. Stay tuned.

Kelly cajoled the big-moneyed crowd into coughing up $1,500 for a ski team jacket and 20 grand for a trip to New Zealand with the men’s Alpine team next summer (this on top of the $15,000-$30,000 dropped for a table that evening). Getting all the athletes, their families and coaches to the Olympics is a huge financial undertaking and wouldn’t be possible without the support of various donors and the US Ski Team’s Board of Trustees.

Next stop for the men’s Alpine team: Copper Mountain, Colorado, where they’ll train from 6 am to 9 am. Then the whirlwind World Cup tour begins: Levi-Lake Louise-Beaver Creek-Val D’Isere, all before Christmas.

A U2 cover band, complete with a Bono look alike, rocked from the stage, but no booze-filled antics to report from the ball. In fact, the athletes sucked down strictly water, having signed a contract pledging abstinence—to the sauce that is—and their best behavior while in front of the folks financing their Olympic ambitions. Now late night, that’s another story.

To donate to the US Ski Team, visit https://donate.usskiteam.com/  —Kelley McMillan

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