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University of Alaska Anchorage alpine ski team has been reinstated

Alex Parker of the University of Alaska-Anchorage skis to third place in the Women's Giant...
Alex Parker of the University of Alaska-Anchorage skis to third place in the Women's Giant Slalom at the NCAA Ski Championships in Stowe, Vt., Wednesday, March 9, 2011.(AP Photo Toby Talbot)(Toby Talbot | AP)
Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 3:54 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The University of Alaska Anchorage Alpine ski team was reinstated by the University of Alaska Board of Regents on Friday.

“Our team was glued to the [UA board of regents] livestream today,” head coach Sparky Anderson said. “We were on a group chat and the team ecstatic when it was announced.”

This news of reinstatement comes after the team had reached its fundraising goal of $628,000 in late December of last year, but their reinstatement wasn’t official until the money was certified, along with a vote by the UA Board of Regents.

“I just can’t wait to get back to skiing,” Anderson said. “I just feel really happy for the program and athletes.”

The ski team’s fundraising website was the program’s calling card since September when the UA Board of Regents gave the program an opportunity at reinstatement if they could raise two years of expenses in pledges and donations. Instead of preparing for a season, the fundraising efforts consumed Anderson’s time, and it paid off today as the team secured its future with the university after nearly being eliminated this fall by former UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen in an effort to save the school money.

“We are very humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support from the community in Alaska and beyond,” UAA Interim Chancellor Bruce Schultz wrote in the school’s announcement. “Community support is essential in moving forward with greater sustainability for all athletic programs.”

Anderson said Schultz moved up their reinstatement after they had reached their fundraising goal to allow the team to focus on its ongoing season. The UAA ski season got underway last week in Colorado, and Anderson believes his team has a chance at an NCAA national championship.

Being reinstated also allows UAA to recruit athletes for years to come. Historically, UAA has produced nine national champions, nine Olympians and 157 all-Americans.

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