The Colorado Ski Country USA Spencer Nelson All-Star Athlete of the Year award is presented to the most exemplary young winter athlete of the year. The individual must show performance, leadership and discipline in his or her sport. Results and rankings are important in addition to community involvement. In 2010, the award was re-named for Spencer Nelson, a University of Colorado Alpine Skier who was killed in a tragic hiking accident.
Berend, an alumnus athlete of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, is currently training in Park City, Utah with elite US Nordic Combined skiers including members of the 2014 Olympic Nordic Combined Team. “During the last dozen years I have had the pleasure of watching this young man grow up and I believe he represents the finest product our club, division, state and country has to offer”, said Todd Wilson, his coach. “He is a skillful, motivated, and determined young individual dedicated to the pursuit of excellence. Ben is able to make a real impact at high levels of competition or in any direction he sets his sights.” The award ends a tumultuous US Nordic Combined season on a high note for 18-year-old Berend.
After a great finish to his 2014 season with 50 Continental Cup points, Berend returned to Colorado from competitions in Europe to the news that the United States Ski Association (USSA) had cut funding for Nordic Combined. “I’ve always dreamed of someday representing the US Ski Team,” said Berend. “When I was seven-years-old, I decided I wanted to be a professional skier and I haven’t looked back since. Despite the news that funding was cut, I am more motivated than ever.”
The news has left members of the elite and development teams along with their supporters and families scrambling to find new funding sources. Despite the hurdle, Berend’s athletic goals remained fixed. In 2015, he has his sights set on a top ten finish in World Juniors in Kazakhstan and qualifying for the World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Berend’s long-range goal is to medal for the US team in the 2018 winter Olympics in Seoul, Korea.
In an effort to bridge the funding gap, Berend and his team members will be guiding fundraiser luxury bike tours through Colorado and Utah. Additionally, the Nordic Combined community is hosting a celebration and fundraiser, Jumpin’ & Jammin, on July 4th at the Steamboat Springs’ jumping facility at Howelsen Hill. The athletes will soar off the Hill Size 75-meter jump for their annual summer elimination jump completion competition while guests enjoy spectating, family games, a beer garden and the Salzberger Echo Band from Salt Lake City, Utah. Furthermore, the Nordic Combined team has joined forces with the non-profit US Ski Jumping team to collaborate on outreach and fundraising efforts.
Find more information about Ben Berend visit benberend.weebly.com. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Hans Berend at 970.846.4870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.