LAKE PLACID - Helping out the Lake Placid ski scene from New York City's Central Park. That's what Jonathan Weibrecht and a host of local Olympians are doing in style.
On Tuesday, May 10 at the Loeb Boathouse Restaurant on the shore of Central Park Lake, the first New York Ski Education Foundation Gala Fundraiser will be held. The event is being dubbed "An Evening to Support the Next Generation of Olympians."
Weibrecht, who grew up skiing in the NYSEF program at Whiteface Mountain and now works on Wall Street in Manhattan, is the chairman of the fundraiser. He is also the older brother of 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht, another NYSEF alumnus who will be one of the featured guests at the event, which includes an auction.
"Originally, this started out as something small, with 20 or 30 people writing big checks to benefit NYSEF," Jon Weibrecht said. "But we decided to expand this to get more exposure for NYSEF. It's New York state's premier ski program."
With donations and ticket sales associated with the event, more than $55,000 has already been raised for NYSEF. Weibrecht said hopes are that up to $100,000 will come in to help fund the program, which teaches alpine, nordic and freestyle skiing, ski jumping, biathlon and snowboarding to youngsters beginning at age 7.
Seven athletes who trained with NYSEF competed at the Vancouver Olympics. Their haul included three medals - the alpine bronze won by Andrew Weibrecht and a nordic combined gold and silver captured by Vermontville's Bill Demong, who will also make an appearance at the gala fundraiser.
Other Olympians expected to attend the fundraiser who trained under NYSEF or are currently in leadership positions in the organization are Jay Rand (NYSEF executive director and 1968 Olympian), 1998 Olympic ski jumper and current NYSEF coach Casey Colby, biathlete Tim Burke and ski jumpers Peter Frenette and Nick Alexander. Keene's Tommy Biesemeyer, who has risen in the ranks of the U.S. Alpine Team, will also be in attendance.
Another special guest who is slated to attend the fundraiser is professional boxer Tomacz Adamek, a native of Poland who will battle for the WBC heavyweight title in September. Promoter Ziggy Rozalski will join his fellow countryman at the event, Both are avid skiers who have spent time in Lake Placid.
Jon Weibrecht said one of the reasons he was inspired to help organize the upcoming event was that NYSEF pays big dividends for both young athletes as well as the Olympic Region.
"Personally, our family did really well by NYSEF," Jon Weibrecht said. "As skiers, we were so fortunate to grow up with such a program, and I'm happy to have the opportunity to give something back.
"Another reason this is important was that NYSEF was so well represented at the last Olympics, and we want to see that trend continue," he added. "We want to broaden the reach of NYSEF to make it one of the top teaching programs in the United States."
The major sponsors of the fundraiser are the Northwood School and the National Sports Academy, which are Lake Placid's two prep schools whose student-athletes train with NYSEF. More than 170 guests have already signed up to attend the event. Weibrecht said that the fundraiser could potentially draw a crowd as large as 300.
Items up for bid at the auction feature trips to Caribbean Island resorts and the Alps, equipment donated by Olympians, a lesson and day of skiing with Andrew Weibrecht, a stay at the Mirror Lake Inn, training sessions with fitness model Jenny Goldberg, a golf-and-stay package at the Crowne Plaza Resort and visits to Olympic Regional Development Authority venues, including four lift tickets to Whiteface Mountain.
Reed Miller, a Northwood School graduate, is the vice chairman for the fundraiser.
For more information, visit www.NYSEF.org.