Schlereth, Diaz-Infante prep for SnowBash
BRECKENRIDGE – Mark Schlereth and David Diaz-Infante know all about game-time decisions. And whether or not they’ll get on skis next month at the inaugural Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center SnowBash will be just that.
The former Denver Broncos linemen were in Breckenridge Friday doing their radio sports talk show – Drive-Time Sports on KKZN, 760 The Zone – from the Copper Top Lounge at Beaver Run. They’ll be back April 11-13 for the SnowBash, the biggest event on the BOEC calender, which will be highlighted by a celebrity ski race April 12.
Will Schlereth and Diaz-Infante ignore the knee and back pain of their football-ravaged bodies and get in the start gate on the Sundown slalom course?
“I might for (the SnowBash) take a couple of runs,” Schlereth said. “As long as I don’t have to pound too hard. I have an amount of pain that follows me every day of my life, and I try not to do a whole lot to increase that level, and I know skiing would definitely increase it.”
Schlereth grew up in Alaska and skied as a child at Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. Diaz-Infante grew up in San Jose, Calif., and skateboarded as a kid. So, he figures, snowboarding is more his calling.
“Being the natural athlete that I am, how hard can it be,” Diaz-Infante joked. “It will be a good time. It’ll give people something to laugh at.”
The celebrity list for the SnowBash is still expanding. In addition to Schlereth and Diaz-Infante, it currently includes former Broncos Steve Sewell, Billy Thompson, Karl Mecklenburg as well as 9News sports anchor Tony Zarella and Eric Weihenmayer, the first blind climber ever to summit Mount Everest.
The event begins April 11 with Schlereth and Diaz-Infante doing another live show from Beaver Run followed by a kick-off party. On Saturday, celebrities will team up with sponsors, disabled skiers and children from the youth groups that the BOEC works with for a race on Sundown. Open autograph signings will follow. That night will be the gala awards celebration, with Weihenmayer the keynote speaker. Dinner and cocktails will be served and there will be a fund-raising auction.
The event takes over for the Hockey Ultrathon as the biggest fund-raiser on the BOEC calendar. The Ultrathon – a popular 101-hour continuous hockey game at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena in Breckenridge – lasted two years. Cook and the BOEC decided to make a change because they wanted to showcase the programs that the BOEC is known for. By having an event on snow that includes adaptive skiers, the BOEC will do that.
“We felt this was a better showcase for the adaptive ski element, which is such a large part of BOEC,” Cook said. “We don’t teach people how to play hockey, we teach people how to ski, and it changes lives. We really want to show that off and have the cause be front and center.”
The BOEC has brought the Colorado Avalanche Community Fund on board to increase the event’s fund-raising power.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” said BOEC executive director Rich Cook. “Having folks like Mark and David involved, having the Avalanche involved just really allows us to step up a notch.”
Even if they don’t participate in the race, the community-minded Schlereth and Diaz-Infante are happy to lend their time.
“We thought it was a good event,” said Diaz-Infante. “I love what (the BOEC) is doing with special-needs and at-risk kids. It falls right in line with what Mark and I believe in doing in the community.”
The list of companies sponsoring teams includes the Summit Daily News, Krystal 93, East-West Partners and several Front Range corporations. Two team sponsorships are still available at $5,000 per seven-person team. Also, tickets to the Saturday night dinner and gala are available for $65.
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