Ski racing was my first love. I loved it from when I was a little kid through racing at Middlebury and still today. Even in the days after my accident (I was injured in a ski race in 2006) I was never resentful of skiing and I never felt like I didn’t want to ski again. I remember laying in my hospital bed in the days after my accident watching ski racing in the Olympics and thinking how awesome it was ski racing was getting national attention.
The original purpose of the Kelly Brush Foundation was to fix a lack of focus on safety in ski racing. It led to my injury and I wanted to change that. For several years, leading the charge to improve ski racing safety was the largest part of our mission.
Over the last 5-6 years, however, we have seen an explosive growth in the demand for our adaptive sports equipment grants. Don’t get me wrong, we do more and spend more to improve ski racing safety every year, but as a percentage of our total mission expenses, it has been eclipsed and then some by adaptive sports. In 2017, for every $5 we spend, $4 will go to the adaptive sports mission and $1 to the ski racing safety mission (see announcements of our Spring Adaptive Sports Cycle, Summer Ski Racing Safety Cycle, Fall Adaptive Sports Cycle).
So when the Killington World Cup local organizing committee approached us about helping them improve safety on the hill during the World Cup, we saw a big opportunity. As our communications become more and more adaptive sports focused, this presented a way to talk about safety to the community it benefits and who has been loyal in our support. By being involved in the World Cup, we will be presenting a model for safety for all of the coaches, officials, and volunteers that will be there that they should seek to replicate as best as possible on their home hills. Even better, the fencing and equipment we’re buying will be used for local Killington and other Vermont races throughout the year.
Our partnership with Killington will also, I hope, be a way to show our core supporters that we are still as focused as ever on ski racing safety. We are really excited to have a big presence at the World Cup both on the hill (look for our logo!), with a booth in the expo village (come say hello!), and in hosting a not-to-be-missed Après (link here to Facebook event). The Après will be a true celebration of eastern ski racing.
So my challenge for you: when you’re at the World Cup, watching it on TV, or seeing pictures online, notice how the hill looks, where the netting is placed, and the protection around every obstacle. Then every time you’re setting a course, watching your kids ski a course, or watching a race, ask yourself: “what did we learn at the World Cup?”
Dylan’s has been saying more and more words recently! A few days ago we were outside and our dog brought a stick and dropped it. Dylan pointed to it and said “nick.” I realized that was a word I had never directly said to her or tried to get her to say but she learned it organically and is now saying it all the time. She has so many of these recently and it has been so fun to watch. We also were doing a few words in sign language early on with her and she really took to them. She now almost always says the word with the sign, but will always sign more, eat, please, thank you, and all done.