Skiers and snowboarders raised $562,000 at the Downhill 24 for the Maine nonprofit that helps kids to get outside and active more often in the winter.

The 8th annual event, presented by Agren, marked the largest revenue in the event’s history. The organization chose to support the local kids in Franklin and Somerset counties by giving $25,000 to the Sugarloaf Ski Club’s King’s Kids Fund. This fund allows local children to train in Sugarloaf’s weekend ski and ride programs, according to a news release from WinterKids, based in Westbrook.

“We are so appreciative of WinterKids’ gift and certainly did not expect a gift of this size,” said Sugarloaf Ski Club President, Ginny Bousum. This gift will allow kids who would not otherwise have the opportunity to learn to ski and ride at Maine’s biggest mountain in a season-long lesson and training program.

The Downhill 24, presented by Agren is a team ski and snowboard challenge and fundraiser to benefit WinterKids. It is the only annual event that brings night skiing to Sugarloaf. WinterKids sets up lights along the course for a fun-filled, round-the-clock, family friendly event. Participants raise money to support the program to help children develop healthy lifelong habits through education and fun, outdoor winter activity.

This year’s event raised a record $562,000 from more than 4,000 donors, 49 teams and 491 participants. Participants of the WinterKids Downhill 24 get their own unique fundraising web page, and prizes are awarded for those who raise the most money for WinterKids.

“We are thrilled that the success of this event allows us to directly impact kids and families in Sugarloaf’s surrounding communities, “ said Julie Mulkern, executive director of WinterKids. “In addition to these funds, we distribute over $25,000 in cash and prizes to our participating Winter Games schools in all 16 counties statewide. It is heartwarming and validating to visit schools and see firsthand the positive impact our organization is having on kids and their health.”

According to the release, four elementary schools in Carrabassett Valley (Kingfield, Stratton, Strong and Phillips) were the secondary beneficiary in 2019. The Sugarloaf Regional Charitable Trust was the secondary beneficiary of the WinterKids Downhill 24 in 2017 and 2018. The program has helped more than 100,000 Maine children to be active outdoors in the winter through unique programs statewide.

In addition to in-school outreach with the WinterKids Winter Games, the new WinterKids App provides Maine and New Hampshire families with affordable access to winter activities. WinterKids major community sponsor is Hannaford. WinterKids Supporting Sponsors are Agren, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Irving Oil, L.L. Bean, Portland Glass, WEX, and WMTW Channel 8 & The CW. WinterKids was the 2018 beneficiary of the TD Beach to Beacon Road Race, a 2019 beneficiary of the Maine Marathon, and the 2020 beneficiary of Carnaval ME.

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