Two-time Olympian Stacey Cook of Mammoth congratulated Mackenzie Bachmeier, Danielle Brownell-Patty, Johanna Gur and Forrest Ferguson this week on winning the 2011 Stacey Cook/Sun Valley Ski Tools Scholarship (SVST). The four young racers will receive $500 worth of ski tools and $500 worth of ski wax to use throughout the entire alpine season.
Now in its fourth year, the scholarship recognizes four J2 (ages 15-16) or J3 (ages 13-14) level athletes who exemplify talent, a good attitude, community involvement and a commitment to alpine skiing
"I had 81 applicants this year and all of them put incredible effort into their applications," said Cook, who was supported by SVST as a junior. "Truly, there could have been 81 winners, but Dani, Johanna, Forrest and Mackenzie put a ton of time into their applications. In reading them, I could easily see their incredible personalities and their passion for skiing."
Bachmeier stood out in the application process because of her love of skiing through all seasons. As a nationally ranked water skier in jump, trick and slalom, she turns her focus to the snow in winter and races with Crystal Mountain in Washington, home of U.S. Ski Team alum Scott Macartney.
"Winning this scholarship is truly amazing," said Bachmeier, who according to her mom did a 20-minute happy dance when she got the call from Cook. "I know that it will most definitely help my skiing performance and my family. It puts me one step closer to achieving my goals and dreams."
Originally from Aspen, Colo, Brownell-Patty recently packed up her ski bag for the highly acclaimed U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association club program at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont. Cook says the move proves her passion for skiing, but also said she was impressed with her desire to help kids both on and off the snow.
As the lone male in this year's scholarship class, Ferguson is a second year J2 with the Squaw Valley Ski Team, where World Cup winner Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, Calif.) got his start. And, like Sullivan, Ferguson plays High School football, which he says helps him get into shape for the ski racing season.
"I'm thrilled to receive this scholarship and I would like to thank Stacey as well as the whole SVST staff for creating this awesome opportunity," said Ferguson, who reportedly is meticulous on ski tuning.
Gur is a fellow Squaw Valley Ski Team racer and second year J3, She had the inside scoop on the scholarship thanks to U.S. Ski Team member and cousin Will Gregorak (Longmont, Colo.), who started his first World Cup race last weekend in Soelden, Austria.
Cook says the Gregorak connection had nothing to do with her winning the scholarship, though Gur says he is one of her biggest role models. "Will has shown me that dreams are possible," said Gur.
"This scholarship class is outstanding and I hope they all have a great season," said Cook. "The pipeline to the U.S. Ski Team and the Olympics starts at the junior and club level and these athletes are some of the best out there. It will be cool to watch their careers."
For more information on the Stacey Cook/SVST Scholarship, check out www.staceycook.net , where you can cheer her all season through her blog.