Steamboat Springs On March 3, competitors young and old will participate in the 17th annual Snow Express at the Steamboat Ski Area to raise money for individuals suffering from multiple sclerosis.
The activities in the all-day event are open to skiers and snowboarders of all ages and any ability level.
Stacey Kramer, who is co-director of the event with Jill Waldman, said everyone from children to grandparents can enter. Registration is under way for three-person ski/snowboard teams to compete in the marathon, dual giant slalom and poker run on Mount Werner.
The day includes breakfast, lunch and an awards ceremony. Teams must raise a minimum of $1,000 to enter. Prizes are awarded according to the amount of money raised. Awards this year include Columbia jackets and expense-paid trips to Vail. Last year, team Arctic Storm raised $17,292 for the first prize.
Snow Express is "heavily weighted towards fund-raising," Kramer said, and the program hopes to raise $100,000 this year. Kramer said the goal is to reach 25 teams and at least six teams for the poker run.
The poker run, new this year, is "a scavenger hunt on snow" and serves as an alternative to the marathon.
The Snow Express proceeds provide scholarships for Routt County residents with multiple sclerosis to attend five-day "Can Do" programs at the Heuga Center in Edwards.
Olympic medalist and U.S. Ski Team member Jimmy Heuga founded the center in 1984. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the height of his career, Heuga developed a personal wellness program that showed him the many ways he could overcome the limitations of his disease. A portion of the proceeds also benefits Routt County United Way.
"It's important to do something to make the world a better place," Kramer said of her involvement with Snow Express.
Meredith Geldmeier is a student at Christian Heritage School and an intern at the Steamboat Pilot & Today.