Ski Gull will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Alpine race club Dec. 17.
Students ages 5-14 will be able to ski a timed course from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and receive a free lift ticket.
The Alpine club was started 20 years ago by a group of parents and Jim Ruttger, the Brainerd High School coach. BHS started an Alpine team in 1988.
In 1991, Mary Beebe, John Majka, Tom Burton, Larry Zarling and Ruttger met with the director of the Giants Ridge club and competed in the Northland Junior Race Series. Individuals from the Giants Ridge club helped Ski Gull structure its club and junior racing at Ski Gull was born.
Mary Beebe was the first director and parents helped coach the racers the first year.
This year, Chelsea Williams has been hired as head coach. She raced five years for BHS and four years at Minnesota-Duluth, qualifying for nationals three years. Assistant coaches are Brainerd alumni and high school racers.
The racing club practices on Saturday afternoons at Ski Gull and competes in weekly races at Giants Ridge, Lutsen, Spirit Mountain and Mont du Lac, in addition to hosting two events at Ski Gull each season. The mission statement of the club is to develop a life-long love of skiing thru racing.
In 1999 the Alpine club started the Christmas Learn to Ski Program at Ski Gull.
The club has been important to the success of the BHS team, which has qualified numerous individuals for the state meet for several years and six teams, two of which were section champions.
Many BHS racers have gone on to ski at UMD, Minnesota, Wisconsin and St. Olaf.
Alumni have stayed involved with skiing and racing. Katie Hutchison now coaches the Duluth East girls team. Scott and Andianne Moen coach for the UMD ski team. Andy Rangen coached for UMD for eight years and was instrumental in developing the UMD team. Lexy Zarling is a USSA coach and coaches for Team Gilboa in Bloomington. Scott Moen, Andy Rangen, Eric Charpentier, Katie Rangen, Jenna Ude, and Heather and Kyle Goochey help with college races.