2016 Cal Conniff Grants Announced

New England Ski Museum announces $3,000 in funding for the group’s Cal Conniff Grant program to support individuals and organizations that align with the Museum’s mission to preserve the history of skiing and winter sports.

The grants are funded with proceeds of the Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race, held each March at Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire. This year the successful applicants will be announced on Friday, March 11, 2015 at the opening reception of the Hannes Schneider Race in Cranmore’s Eating House Restaurant.

Cal Conniff had a distinguished career in the American ski industry, culminating in 16 years as President and Executive Director of the National Ski Areas Association. “Cal Conniff has led the ski industry through the greatest growth period that it will ever see in its evolution”, said Killington founder Preston Smith at the time of Conniff’s retirement. Leslie Otten, President of Sunday River at the time, added that “whoever is lucky enough to retain his time, even if on a limited basis, will be the recipient of a windfall investment”.

As it happened, much of Conniff’s energies following his retirement benefitted the New England Ski Museum, which Conniff served as a director, president, and founder of the Hannes Schneider Meister Cup benefit race. In recognition of those contributions, in 2006 the ski museum designated its existing grant awards the Cal Conniff Grant program.

Cal Conniff was host of one of the first television shows built around skiing, at WWLP in Springfield, Vermont. Here he is shown getting ready to leave to cover the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

Cal Conniff was host of one of the first television shows built around skiing, at WWLP in Springfield, Massachusetts. Here he is shown getting ready to leave to cover the 1960 Winter Olympic Games at Squaw Valley.

The Cal Conniff Grant Program is open to individuals, organizations and educational institutions with an interest in winter sports, such as alpine and nordic skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. Anyone who can demonstrate the need for funding for the purposes of education, preservation of skiing history, encouraging winter sports participation, or other involvement in snow sports is eligible.

The selection process is conducted by the Museum’s Grant Committee on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis. The committee judges applications based on the following:

  • the importance of the grant to the success of the proposed program;
  • the proposal’s contribution to the preservation of ski or snowboard history;
  • the educational value of the proposal;
  • the extent to which the project encourages skiing or snowboarding participation;
  • the applicant’s degree of organization in the pursuit of the project.

The application process is kept purposefully informal. Applicants submit a letter that outlines a description of the project, its goals, the audience that it will impact, and the dollar amount requested. Supporting information for the application should include:

  • resume or organizational description, including contact name and mailing address;
  • two letters supporting the merits of the individual or program;
  • representative photograph for publication if the applicant is successful.

Successful applicants will be asked to make an informal report to the Museum on their use of grant funds in the winter following the award.

Questions about the program or application materials should be e-mailed to staff@skimuseum.org or mailed to:

Cal Conniff Grant Committee, New England Ski Museum, PO Box 267, Franconia, NH 03580.

The deadline for applications is February 15, 2016.

In 2015, Cal Conniff Grant were awarded to these three groups:

Junior Enrichment Through Sports, Thornton, NH: $1,000 to support their mission to provide a safe, fun learning experience of alpine skiing and snowboarding to local children at Waterville Valley. The JETS program was established in 1993 to provide an affordable ski and snowboard program for SAU 48 youth in grades 1 through 8.

Nansen Ski Club, Berlin, NH: $1,000 to support their Warming Lodge project. The Nansen Ski Club is the oldest continuously operated ski club in the country. It maintains a premier groomed Nordic trail system at Milan Hill State Park, where they will construct their warming hut at the trailhead parking lot. Included in the project will be provision for display of the club’s historic photos and archives.

Symonds School Afterschool Ski and Snowboard Club, Keene, NH: $1,000 to support healthy outdoor winter activity and social opportunity for their 54 student participants. The school sponsors Friday afternoon lessons and skiing and riding at Granite Gorge, and will use the grant to expand the program for disadvantaged students who would benefit from learning to ski or snowboard.