OUT OF THE GATE
Fair Play POWERS, RAHLVES OUT TO LEVEL (SNOW)
FIELD WITH LEVEL FIELD FUND BY BRYCE HUBNER
Powers, center, celebrates a golden day in
the pipe at the Salt Lake Games in 2002.
Rahvles en route to second place
at the 2006 World Cup Finals SG,
capping his career as one of best
American speed skiers in history.
GEPA ( 2)
What do skier Daron Rahlves, snowboarder
Ross Powers and swimmer Michael Phelps
have in common — beyond a bunch of trips to
the Olympics, that is?
They want to make sure athletes are afforded every opportunity to make it to the highest
levels of sport — no matter what the financial
situation — and they’re donating big money to
make it happen.
“Last year, I had the opportunity to team up
with some other athletes to start Level Field
Fund, which evolved out of my snowboarding
foundation,” Powers told Ski Racing recently.
“The goal is pretty simple: we want athletes
who might not be able to afford [the expenses
of ours sports] to be on a truly level playing
field — able to train and compete wherever
they need to. Daron Rahlves joined us to support skiing, Michael Phelps has come on for
swimming, and other top athletes like Seth
Wescott are on board, too.”
Level Field Fund is the result of a decade-long
philanthropic effort by Powers, who conceived
the idea to start a financial-support foundation
for athletes after he experienced firsthand the
sometimes overwhelming expenses of competing at snowboarding’s highest levels.
“When I was a young rider,” Powers said, “I
remember needing [financial] help to travel to
national championships — people from [my
community] chipped in to make it happen.”
Powers obviously went on to become a
snowboarding superstar, having won, among
many accomplishments, halfpipe gold at the
Salt Lake Games. When the time came to
give back 10 years ago, he didn’t flinch, and
wrote a check to support an up-and-coming
snowboarding talent at the request of his old
Stratton Mountain School coach. A foundation
“Ross already had this [foundation] put together so well,” Rahlves said. “He and I were
in Telluride last year and got to talking about it
— [a compelling mission] — and I simply decided to jump on board to help give back to
Rahlves will also use his newly launched
Rahlves Banzai Tour to raise further awareness and funds for Level Field Fund-Skiing.
That the foundation has already supported
Olympians like Graham Watanabe and Nick
Baumgartner made it easier to secure hefty
corporate support, too. Massachusetts-based
OrthoLite, which sells millions of insoles each
year, is donating $1 to Level Field Fund for
every insole it sells on its website.
“As a founding partner of the Level Field
Fund, we’re proud to help talented athletes
with financial need reach their performance
potential,” said Pamela Gelsomini, president
of OrthoLite. “[And] we’re very excited that our
partnership with Level Field Fund now extends
their reach to include competitive skiers.”
Skiers and riders of all ages are invited to apply for support from the Level Field Fund. For
more information, see levelfieldfund.org.