By Dave Potter

Every year at the start of the ski season The Usual Gang of Idiots and I always circle the first Thursday of March as one of the best ski days of the year. That day is always reserved for United Way Ski Day at HoliMont. This year it was on March 6.

Started seven years ago with about 30 participants, Ski Day for United Way has now grown to 130 this year. While it’s called a ski day, this event is about much more than just skiing. It’s about raising money for a great organization. The United Way of Cattaraugus County is led by Executive Director Candace Plants and Administration and Finance Manager Gail Vida Smith. There is also a group of dedicated volunteers that help make this day a great success each year.

The United Way’s mission statement is” to improve the quality of life by mobilizing resources to meet the needs of our communities.” The different agencies and groups that benefit from the United Way are too numerous to mention here but can be seen on their website at www.uwcattco.org.

This year’s Ski Day started with registration and a light breakfast. We also bought tickets for the 50-50 raffle and the Chinese raffle. We booted up and were up the hill as soon as the lifts opened at 9:30 a.m. The skiing was great, as was the company. The morning flew by and soon it was time for lunch provided by Dina’s.

After lunch, it was more skiing with a twist. At the bottom of a couple select lifts, United Way volunteers handed out playing cards. Skiers and boarders could collect the cards, and the skier with the best natural poker hand at the end of the day would win a prize. My group was more interested on collecting runs than cards. As a result, the best anyone could do was three of a kind. All I had were two pairs.

At the après ski party, I had a chance to talk with Candy to learn more about the event. She was profuse with her thanks to HoliMont.

HoliMont generously donates all the tickets. All the prizes for the raffles are also donated. As a result, all of the money raised goes to charity.

Candy enthusiastically commented, “We realized a profit of almost $5,000 this year! And 130 skiers. HoliMont is a great friend to our communities!”

I suggest that next year you circle your calendar. The skiing is always great and you also will be raising money for a great organization and helping communities in Cattaraugus County along the way.