Univer­sity of Alaska Re­v­erses De­ci­sion

Ski Teams Saved for Now

SkiTrax - - Out In Front -

In Novem­ber, the Univer­sity of Alaska (UA) re­versed an ear­lier de­ci­sion to stop fund­ing its Nordic- and alpine-ski teams at the end of the 2016-2017 aca­demic year due to fi­nan­cial is­sues re­sult­ing from de­pressed oil prices. This ap­plied to both the Univer­sity of Alaska An­chor­age (UAA) and the Univer­sity of Alaska Fair­banks (UAF).

The wel­come news fol­lowed a re­sound­ing ral­ly­ing cry dubbed #Savealaskaski­ing sup­ported by the ski com­mu­nity at large, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Nordic Foun­da­tion.

“Past, present and fu­ture ath­letes are ex­tremely grate­ful for the out­pour­ing of sup­port we re­ceived from ski-com­mu­nity mem­bers lo­cally, across the United States and around the world. Over 5,000 peo­ple from 31 coun­tries, 45 U.S. states and many com­mu­ni­ties all across Alaska signed the pe­ti­tion, which be­came a pow­er­ful force in con­vinc­ing the Board of Re­gents to overturn the de­ci­sion to elim­i­nate col­lege ski­ing from Alaska. One Re­gent even said that this is­sue re­ceived far more feed­back than any other that UA has faced,” com­mented An­drew Kast­ning, UAA Nordic-ski team head coach.

“We were lucky to have so many peo­ple from the lo­cal com­mu­nity and the larger ski com­mu­nity rally in our sup­port. Peo­ple re­al­ized this was not only a bad thing for Alaska, but also for NCAA [Na­tional Col­le­giate Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion] ski­ing in gen­eral and the larger USSA [U.S. Ski and Snow­board As­so­ci­a­tion] pipe­line. It was re­ally great to see so many “ri­vals” turn into staunch sup­port­ers for the good of the sport," com­mented Sara Stude­baker-hall, UAA Nordic-ski team as­sis­tant coach.

“The UAA Ski Team felt the warmth and love of the ski com­mu­nity. For that, we of­fer sin­cere ap­pre­ci­a­tion and a debt of grat­i­tude for all those who came to bat for ski­ing in Alaska. We still have bat­tles to win [in] gar­ner­ing more pri­vate fund­ing, but at least we have a path­way for­ward,” added Kast­ning.

A re­sound­ing ral­ly­ing cry dubbed #Savealaskaski­ing worked won­ders.

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