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Gary Silver in Motion. Photo Courtesy of Rich Landers


Kate & Mike Burns received the award in 2022

The Gary Silver Lifetime Contribution Award honors an individual, a family, or a group of people who have made significant contributions to cross-country in the Spokane area over a period of years. The annual award was first given in 1989.

2022 Gary Silver Award Winners: Kate & Mike Burns


We heartily applaud the Gary Silver Award given to Mike and Kate Burns this past weekend! Mike and Kate have been involved in and supported all aspects of Spokane Nordic Programs starting of course with Nordic Kids, with enthusiasm, commitment, and many hours of their time. Mike has not only been a nordic director for the Spokane Junior National Qualifier race for many years, but he also serves the larger Nordic and alpine community as a certified ski patroller and an Assistant Technical Delegate at other nordic races requiring travel and long days.  Mike is a representative on the Non-motorized Sno-Park Advisory Committee - advocates on behalf of the whole community of skiers to allocate funds to our region.


Kate has served on the Spokane Nordic club board both treasurer and president, helped develop, promote, and teach with the nordic skijoring program, and served as the parent liaison with the race team all of which has also required many hours of time. She also makes a mean breakfast burrito for hungry skiers and coaches for those early morning waxing sessions. 


Mike and Kate encourage, and support all our young Nordic skiers and their families in whatever way they deem best to enjoy our great sport and learn lifelong lessons in teamwork, camaraderie, and positive fun!


In addition, a huge shout out to all the race committee chiefs and volunteers for this past weekend's Junior National Qualifying Race that was also open to citizens and our youngest skiers. Spokane Nordic was given accolades and the trophy by the Pacific Northwest Ski Association to have put on a race with great sportsmanship and participation. 


George Bryant and Alison Wiener


Nominations for the award are sought from anyone in the local cross-country ski community. Nominations should include a description of why the nominee should receive this award. Nominations can be submitted either in hard copy (Spokane Nordic, PO Box 501, Spokane WA, 99210) or via email to Nominations should include the name of the person doing the nominating (for clarification, more information, etc) although the nominator may request to remain anonymous if/when the award is given if they so choose.

If you prefer you can use this nomination form.


The Spokane Nordic board will review all nominations and determine this year's recipient through a majority vote. Nominations can be carried over into future years.


If you know of a person who deserves special recognition for his/her contribution to cross-country skiing in the Spokane region, nominate them today!

Gary Silver's Legacy

This article is based on an interview with Spokesman-Review reporter Rich Landers, and on articles written by Rich at the time of Gary Silver's passing in 1998.


The Gary Silver award is named in honor of Gary Silver, a Spokane resident who died July 8, 1998, after suffering from high-altitude sickness at an elevation of about 23,000 feet while climbing on Gasherbrum II in Pakistan.


Gary was an avid climber, Boston Marathon runner, and member of the American Alpine Club, Spokane Mountaineers, Bloomsday Road Runners Club, and Inland Empire Nordic Club.


"Gary was a spark plug," Rich recalls. "The skiing community was small but already established when Gary turned on to the sport as an offshoot of his love for endurance sports. But Gary had a way of immersing himself in things to which he took an interest. He became very active in the Inland Empire Nordic Club. Perhaps what put him over the top was his commitment to improving ski racing trails at Achilles Ranch, a private area where the first few Langlauf races were held prior to a significant ski trail system at Mount Spokane. Most notably, he bought his own small bulldozer to carve out trails."


Rich continues, "Gary was a motivator -- competitive in a way that made everyone around him try to be better, whether it was ski technique, waxing, eating healthy foods or off-season training."

Past Recipients

1989   Sam Schlieder

1990   Carl Miller

1991   Andrea Gunning

1992   Roxie Miller

1993   Bob Holcomb

1994   Paul Smith

1995   Toni Halloran

1996   Jane McDonald

1997   Fleeta Holcomb

1998   Tim Ray

1999   John Hatcher

2000   Tom/Theresa Frost

2001   Bob Hyslop

2002   Rich Landers

2003   Sue Megaard

2004   Robin Redman

2005   Art Bookstrom

2006   Ron McDonald

2007   Bodhi Densmore

2008   Mark/Jane Bitz

2009   George/Karen Momany

2010   Lewis Persons

2011   ---------------

2012   Inland Empire Paper Co.

2013   Steve Christensen

2014   Tom/Dawn Schaaf

2015   George Bryant/Alison Weiner

2016   Lou Slack

2017   Cris Curry

2018   Robin DeRuwe

2019   Lisa Sunderman

2022   Kate & Mike Burns

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