Local skiers looking for support, assistance as season draws closer | SteamboatToday.com

Local skiers looking for support, assistance as season draws closer

Anna Marno and Hig Roberts hope to chase their World Cup dreams this season. A fundraiser for the pair is planned for 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Butcherknife Brewing Company in Steamboat Springs.
John F. Russell

— On Wednesday night, U.S. Ski Team members Anna Marno and Hig Roberts will be reaching out to the community of Steamboat Springs hoping to find the financial support they will need to make it through the ski season. But for both local Alpine ski racers, this week’s event is about more than just money.

“This is an awesome community, and this it the best way to build support by getting together with people and getting to see them face to face,” Marno said. “It will be great to feel the love this town has for ski racing and to remember why we love ski racing.”

Marno said knowing that the people in her hometown are supporting her helps fuel her drive when she is thousands of miles away racing on icy slopes in Europe.

Roberts agrees that Wednesday night’s event at Butcherknife Brewery is the best way to build support and to express thanks to his friends, family and supporters. For Roberts, the fundraising event is a chance to reconnect with his hometown after spending much of the last five years in the Eastern part of the United States racing for Middlebury College. He was named to the U.S. Ski Team after a very successful college career.

“Believe it or not there are a lot of locals who think that I came from back East,” Roberts said. “But I was born and raised here in Steamboat Springs and learned to ski race on Howelsen Hill. This is my hometown, and it will always be my hometown. I love it here.”

Roberts is a member of the United States “B” team, and Marno is currently racing with the Europa Cup team, which is a combination of “B”, “C” and “D” team athletes.

While both skiers are thrilled to be a part of the national team, they must come up with the majority of the money needed to race each season on their own. American skiers in this situation often rely on crowd-funding options or corporate sponsorships to cover those costs.

Marno currently has a corporate sponsor, but that money only covers a portion of her costs. Roberts is exploring his options but has not landed a sponsor yet.

The skiers are also not big fans of crowd-funding sites, which take a portion of the money raised by the athletes in trade for offering the site.

So instead of turning to the World Wide Web, Roberts and Marno joined forces to host a party they hope will result in the financial support they need to continue ski racing.

That party will take place at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Butcherknife Brewing Company, 2875 Elk River Road. The event will be catered by Anna’s aunt, who owns Marno’s Custom Catering. Butcherknife will supply the beer, and there will be a live raffle and auction, where bidders will have a chance to take home U.S. Ski Team gear, Stockle skis, Fisher skis and more.

Both skiers agree that the format of this event is much more personal than sending out waves of emails or looking for supporters online.

“This is a great way for me to reconnect with the people who have supported me for my entire career,” Roberts said. “I’m excited to get back with my friends in Steamboat and have a chance to see them face to face.”

For Roberts, the event is also a send-off — a celebration for his first-ever World Cup start, which will take place in Solden, Austria, at the end of the month.

“Racing on the World Cup has been a dream of mine since I was a kid racing at Howelsen Hill,” Roberts said. “I’m so excited for this opportunity to race at this level and to see what can happen.”

Marno said she will spend much of the next month in Steamboat Springs, where she has lived since she was in seventh grade. She plans to train with her teammates as ski areas begin to open in Colorado and hopefully be ready to roll by November.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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