BSSEF hosts first in-person Ski Ball since 2019
By Jack Reaney STAFF WRITER
The Big Sky Ski Education Foundation will host their biggest fundraiser, the annual Ski Ball, at The Riverhouse on Saturday, Nov. 12. The “wild West” themed event is open to the public, but tickets are required which include dinner and drinks.
Since 1993, the BSSEF has hosted the Ski Ball to raise funds for their competitive youth and teen programs, which now include alpine, freeride and Nordic skiing. Other fundraisers include the turkey trot, fireworks and golf tournament.
As the BSSEF grows, so does their need for funding, according to Jeremy Ueland, program director.
“They’re not cheap sports, and they’re not getting cheaper,” Ueland said in a phone call with EBS.
The funds raised at the ski ball will help offset operating costs which include offering competitive salaries and wages, vehicle expenses, office space, team space and gear, insurance and other components of running a nonprofit, Ueland said. BSSEF also offers year-round programming, including summer camps and mountain biking.
“We’ve always prided ourselves in having affordable programs for everyone in the community,” Ueland said. He said the program does incur a significant cost for families, but the BSSEF is probably among the most affordable of similar programs at large ski areas across the country.
“Nordic has taken big leaps and bounds in the last few years,” Ueland said. The growth has followed their investment in a full-time staff and program director.”
The freeride program for 12 to 18-year-olds has also grown since hiring a full-time program director, Ueland said. With over 150 athletes, the alpine program remains the most popular and often feeds into the freeride program.
Ueland thanked community foundations for “giving a lot of money in scholarships so athletes can be a part of our program.” He encouraged businesses interested in becoming a sponsor to reach out to BSSEF.
This winter, BSSEF will not host any national events as they sometimes do, instead focusing on divisional and regional competitions. They will host four alpine race competitions, two freeride events, and three community-based Viking Nordic races.
Ueland said they’re trying something new with this year’s Ski Ball.
“We’ve been having our [Ski Ball] fundraiser in the spring, but we decided to do it pre-winter in the fall. It will be great to see everyone come out and support the ski team.”