Ski for Women benefits Advocates

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— Winter enthusiasts can have some fun in the snow this weekend while raising awareness and money for abused women.

The Steamboat Ski Touring Center hosts the second annual Colorado Ski for Women at 12:30 p.m. Sunday to benefit Advocates Against Battering and Abuse.

The event involves teams of two people skiing in the classic or skating style or snowshoeing for 5 kilometers.

Men, women and children who show up to the event solo, however, can still ski. Volunteers will match them with other people who arrive without a partner.

Birgitta Lindgren, director of the Touring Center, hosts the event 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.

Event organizers stress Colorado Ski for Women is not a competition.

"It's not a race," Lindgren said. "We just want to encourage lots of people to come out and have a fun day on skis."

Results and times are taken, but performance is not the focus, she said.

Rather than a ceremony in which only a few participants receive awards, all skiers and snowshoers are eligible for a random drawing.

Several area businesses have donated prizes, including gift certificates for dinner, clothing, music and pampering.

Caps and headbands embroidered with the Colorado Ski for Women logo can be purchased at the event.

Registration runs from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday.

Event organizers ask for donations to benefit Advocates in place of a registration fee.

Last year's 75 participants raised $1,500 for Advocates, Lindgren said. Organizers are hoping twice as many people will turn out this year. The first 120 participates receive a water bottle.

Colorado Ski for Women falls on Super Bowl Sunday. Unlike other fund-raisers that benefit Advocates, Sunday's event features an athletic theme.

The name of the event should not discourage men from coming out Sunday. A separate event for men begins at 12:45 p.m.

To further minimize the race atmosphere of a relay format, all participants start at the same time and teams' individual times are added together.

That means teams can ski together and just enjoy the trip, Lindgren said.

Participants can rent equipment.

Lindgren encouraged people of all abilities to strap on a pair of skis or snowshoes. The course offers no surprises and the event offers a relaxed atmosphere, so novices can join in with more experienced cross country skiers.

Last year's field ranged in age from 6 to 85, she said.

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