Newly formed 501c3 nonprofit “Burke Racing” awarded $240,000 state grant to triple T-bar capacity
East Burke, VT (August 5, 2016) – Burke Racing, Burke Mountain Academy’s (BMA) newly formed 501c3 nonprofit, received a grant today for $240,000 from the Northern Borders Regional Commission (NBRC). The funds will go towards replacing the outdated “POMA” lift that BMA has shared with the skiing public to access its training venue on Burke Mountain for the past six decades. The Poma will be replaced with a new state of the art high speed “T-bar” that will more than triple the uphill capacity of skiers and support the mountain’s vision to become a leading training site in the United States.
This grant comes on the heels of another major announcement which saw BMA break ground for the Ronnie Berlack Center (RBC), the academy’s new on-campus, state-of-the-art $3M indoor training facility set to open in the fall of 2016.
“The two projects are related to BMA’s overall strategy to deliver world-class athletic development to its students and position Burke as a leading regional alpine ski racing training site.” said Jory Macomber (BMA ’80), the academy’s new head of school. “This mountain has already produced many world and Olympic standouts such as recent BMA alum and current world and Olympic Champion Mikaela Shiffrin. With the new T-bar we’ll be in a strong position to attract racers from all over the region and the broader skiing public to Burke Mountain,” he added.
In addition to BMA’s strategic intent to have world leading training infrastructure, the establishment of Burke Racing and the increased emphasis on the T-bar project represent the academy’s proactive response to Burke Mountain’s recent receivership status.
“By organizing a grassroots effort to improve infrastructure and amenities on the mountain, we not only hope to enhance athlete training and skier experiences but we also aim to contribute to local job creation and rejuvenate the ski hill, specifically facilitating support for snow making, ski lift and related upgrades,” said Ken Graham, vice chair of BMA’s board of trustees and school alumnus.
As part of the grant agreement, BMA’s entity Burke Racing will acquire and own certain ski lift and snow making assets and, in turn, enter a long term lease arrangement with Burke Mountain which will operate the assets and will benefit from a low cost option to purchase the equipment at lease end. “All of these enhancements will inevitably increase the mountain’s appeal for the attraction of future investors,” added Graham.
Over the coming months, Burke Racing will be focused on raising additional funds to complete the T-bar project which it hopes will be installed in the spring/summer 2017 and ready for use in the winter 2017-2018.
Burke Mountain Academy and Burke Racing would like to thank Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch for supporting this major initiative given its potential to drive hotel and skier visits to Burke Mountain and positively impact economic development in the Northeast Kingdom at a time of need. The Academy would also like to acknowledge the Northeastern VT Development Association for guiding the grant application process and, of course, the staff at the NBRC for recognizing the importance of this project.
Lastly, the Academy and Burke Racing would like to thank the local organizations that endorsed and supported the proposal including the East Burke Chamber of Commerce, Kingdom Trails and the recently formed Friends of Burke Mountain organization.
Burke Mountain Academy
Director of Development and Communications
P: 802.626.5607 ext. *1506