The Mile High Nordic Ski Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit (EIN: 90-0736111), all-volunteer group that maintains ski trails near Butte and Anaconda. As a nonprofit we are able to submit matching grant requests under the federal Recreational Trails Fund program, which is administered by Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Currently the match requirement is 20%, which can be either cash or sweat equity.
The multiplier effect of a 4 for 1 grant has enabled us to make huge improvements in our grooming equipment. In earlier years, it was a struggle to generate enough cash for fuel, batteries, spark plugs and such. The "fleet" was hand-me-down snowmobiles and surplus or home-brew mechanical apparatus. Equipment purchases required multi-year fund accumulation, often frustrated by equipment breakdowns.
Since the sweat equity criterion is rather narrow, we need to actively raise funds for grant matching and ineligible operating expenses. We have 4 ways to generate funds: membership dues, our annual Ski Ball, outright donations, and sale of surplus equipment.
We are an all-volunteer organization (nobody gets any compensation or special consideration). Like all such organizations, the bulk of the effort gets done by a relatively small group of dedicated individuals. While we appreciate casual help anytime by anyone, the fact is that the average age of the core group is well north of 50; our largest demographic is retirees.
We need new blood! The grooming crew, in particular, spends the most time with boots on the ground. Obviously we operate on the trails during the winter, but we also do trail work, equipment and building maintenance, off-season. None of us claim to be expert at what we do, but we've done it long enough to know it requires some learning and practice, and a serious time commitment.
Likewise, we always need new blood on our board. Historically, these positions have been hard to fill, although of recent years we have been fortunate to enlist some new blood with new ideas and a willingness to follow through on ideas to make things actually happen.
Anyone who enjoys using the nordic ski areas we are responsible for should consider joining the Foundation, thereby at least helping us financially, but should also consider a more active role either as a worker bee or board member. It might become your labor of love.
Contact any of the Board members ("Who We Are") for guidance.