TRAVERSE CITY — Bikes and skis.
The two go together at Mt. Holiday. One helping to support the other — to the tune of $250,000.
That’s how much the fifth annual Mud, Sweat and Beers mountain bike race, scheduled for May 3, has raised for the non-profit Mt. Holiday Ski Area.
“Mud, Sweat and Beers has contributed to Holiday being able to stay open,” Mt. Holiday executive director Theresa Galante said. “We’re so thankful for the group of volunteers who do this for Holiday.”
The spring race, which has sold out every year, was the brainchild of co-directors Andrew Parvel and Jim Kalajian.
“We’re very fortunate to have a lot of community riders who come out and enjoy Mt. Holiday, who understand the need to keep a great place like that open,” Parvel said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the success of the race. We’re very happy to be able to give every nickel back to them.”
The money, Galante said, is put to good use, too.
The funds help pay expenses in the fall — a non-revenue time of year — when the ski hill begins its start-up for the winter season.
“That’s when we turn on our equipment, get ready for inspections,” Galante said. “We have older equipment and that’s when you find out things like the snowmobiles need work, the groomer’s developed a leak in the hydraulic system. Those can be expensive fixes.”
The funds also support a scholarship program, which gives kids, who need financial assistance, the opportunity to ski.
“We provide about 100 scholarships a year,” Galante said. “This year, about 70 percent used rental equipment. When you have that rental equipment going to scholarship kids it takes it out of our rental pool for people to rent and pay. In theory, people think it doesn’t end up costing Holiday anything, but it does because we set aside equipment for these kids. And we also provide lessons. So we use some of those funds to pay for rental equipment and instruction.”