With the meat of athlete funding and sponsorship carved and plated for a select few elites, others chasing their goals are left scurrying to cobble together crumbs to sustain those dreams.
Take local snowboarder Logan Ayren Farrow.
At 25, the slopestyle specialist doesn't have illusions that he's on the verge of becoming the 2018 Olympic gold medallist or the sport's next big thing.
But Farrow is still convinced he can put together a viable career on the slopes if he's just able to secure some high-level coaching.
"(I'm) not too far off," he said of how close he is to turning professional. "I've been building on my skills for years now so I'm at that pinnacle."
As of Dec. 10, 93 others agreed, contributing anywhere from $10 to $356 in support of Farrow's campaign on MakeAChamp.com. All told, he has raised $5,056, just over half of his $9,500 goal.
Several sites, including Pursuit, RallyMe, and Sportsfunder all have athletes and clubs making a pitch. MakeAChamp.com alone provides competition from Alpine Canada athletes like Dustin Cook, Marie-Pier Prefontaine, Mikaela Tommy and Brittany Phelan, and even the University of Laval men's volleyball team.
Though the results aren't what Farrow was aiming for quite yet, he said the campaign has been primarily positive as he makes connections.
"Crowdfunding — it's huge, it's coming into play now," he said. "The snowboard industry and the snow sports industry right now are in a crunch. There's not a lot of funding going around.
"I have a lot of friends that are on the national team, and even those people are struggling. These are our future Olympians, so for people who are even a couple steps below them, it's kind of impossible."
On his page, Farrow has budgeted $4,000 each to Whistler Valley Snowboard Club coaching – his first priority – and for a camp in Breckenridge, Colo. Another $1,500 is set aside to cover the costs of operating through MakeAChamp.com and other promotion.
Farrow said he entered the campaign with some in-kind sponsorship, as necessities like some gear and his lift pass were covered. He said his sponsors have also contributed prizes to the campaign – those donating at least $10 receive entries into a draw for a package including Oakley Airbrake goggles, Herd Headwear toque and T-shirt, three pairs of MyPakage men's underwear and a quartz pendant necklace made by Farrow himself. Donors giving a higher amount can secure themselves anything from social media "shoutouts," time with Farrow, or a signed photo, among others.
Farrow said he came up with idea to crowdfund almost a year ago, but took time planning his appeal and researching platforms before launching. He explained some of the other sites out there, some of which are more sport-specific, seemed driven to help only those looking for that final boost before Olympic glory. For this season, Farrow's focus is on qualifying for events like the Monster Energy Shred Show, held at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival in April.
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