Steamboat Springs Women paired with family members, friends and even strangers will cross country ski this weekend to raise awareness and money for abused women in the community.
The Steamboat Ski Touring Center will host the first Colorado Ski for Women at 12:30 p.m. Sunday to benefit Advocates Against Battering and Abuse.
The event involves teams of two women each skiing in the classic or skating style for five kilometers.
Birgetta Lindgren, director of the touring center, said she wanted to give teams of mothers and daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces, cousins and friends a chance to enjoy some winter recreation for a good cause.
Women who show up to the event solo, however, can still ski. Volunteers will match them with other women who arrive without a partner.
Lindgren stressed that people look at Colorado Ski for Women as an event and not a race.
"We will do results, and we will get their time, but that is by no means the focus," she said.
Rather than a ceremony in which only a few participants receive awards, all women will be eligible for a random drawing.
Several area businesses donated prizes, such as massages and facials, for the event.
Caps and headbands embroidered with the Colorado Ski for Women logo can be purchased at the event.
Registration closes at noon Sunday. Lindgren encouraged women to preregister at the touring center.
Event organizers ask for donations to benefit Advocates in place of a registration fee.
Lindgren said she hopes to make Colorado Ski for Women an annual event that falls on Super Bowl Sunday in the future.
She approached Advocates Director Diane Moore last year about creating an event to bring attention to her organization.
"It was just a great opportunity," Moore said.
Unlike past fund-raisers to benefit Advocates, Moore said, Sunday's event features an athletic theme.
Colorado Ski for Women is unique, she added.
To further minimize the race atmosphere of a relay format, all participants will start at the same time and teams' individual times will be added together.
That means teams can ski together and just enjoy the trip, Lindgren said.
One woman plans to pull her six-month-old child on a pulka, she said.
Lindgren encouraged women of all abilities to strap on a pair of skis. The course offers no surprises and the event offers a relaxed atmosphere, so novices can join in with more experienced cross country skiers.
Participants can rent skis for $5 on a first-come, first-served basis.
"You don't have to be an expert by any means," she said. "We're making it that easy."
Although the event features women participants, Moore and Lindgren said they didn't want to discourage men from coming out Sunday.