By Abbie Digel

The Big Sky Ski Education Foundation
(BSSEF) was founded in 1993
by a group of parents who wanted to
provide opportunities for their children
to become avid skiers and gain
appreciation for the sport.
Originally,
the organization solely provided
race programs, but since, they’ve
added a freeride team, a nordic team
and a masters program for ages 18
and above.
There are 80 participants within the
competitive, racing-based foundation.
“We had 50 kids competing in
all different places last weekend,”
said Eric Becker, President of the
Board.
Becker is a 20 year resident
of Big Sky, and has been involved
with BSSEF for two years both on
the board and as a parent. “We have
a group of completely dedicated
parents and volunteers,” Becker
said. Some of those parents grew
up within the program, like Jeremy
Ueland, who is Program Director,
along with 14 coaches.
The funding for the foundation
comes from a mix of sponsors, like
Lone Peak Physical Therapy and
Alpine Property Management.
Other funds come from hosting
races, program fees, resort tax and
grant writing. BSSEF also received a
generous grant from the Yellowstone
Club Community Foundation, and
students can apply for merit-based
scholarships.
“An individual sport like ski racing
is invaluable for character development,
family time, athlete development,
and learning a lifestyle sport,”
said Becker.
New this year is the nordic terrain
park. Near the Town Center, the park
is meant to help introduce newcomers
to the sport, which has been
growing in popularity in Big Sky,
thanks to the miles of groomed trails
at Lone Mountain Ranch.
Last week,
the Ranch hosted the first annual
Big Sky Nordic Ski Festival. Locals
showed up and raced down the pristine
groomed trails for the King and
Queen of the Mountain race, as well
as other events throughout the week.
Check bssef.com for race schedules
or to get involved.