Despite blustery winter weather on Sunday, the third annual Colorado Ski for Women was a wild success -- literally.
Costume-clad snowshoers and cross country skiers began to show up at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center well before 9 a.m. to register for the 5-kilometer benefit for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse.
"A rousing success," is how Advocates director Diane Moore characterized the event. "It feels real successful."
Moore and Touring Center director Birgitta Lindgren hoped this year's ski would attract about 100 people. To their pleasant surprise, at least 120 registered by the time the event started at 12:30 p.m. About 85 people attended last year's event, which was held under sunny skies.
"It's just too bad we didn't have yesterday's weather," Lindgren said while dressed in her purple clown suit.
Ski for Women organizers added a silly costume theme to this year's event, and about one-third of the participants happily obliged.
"Everyone in Steamboat loves to dress up," Advocates case manager and volunteer coordinator Allison Plean said.
From the Austin Powers character "Dr. Evil" to coconut bras and inflatable cow costumes, the men and women who attended the benefit left little doubt for the organizers over whether the themes will continue at future benefits.
"Just wait 'til next year," Lindgren said. "We'll come up with a fresher theme to make it even more of a festive atmosphere."
The event, which wasn't timed and didn't celebrate any winners, paired participants together to navigate the course. Mothers and sons, husbands and wives and friends and neighbors danced and smiled as they crossed the finish line, where emcee Rob Powers provided nonstop commentary.
Inside the Touring Center, participants ate free chili and listened to live music from the Brew Glass Boys. A silent auction and a raffle of more than a dozen gifts donated by area businesses culminated the benefit, which Moore said she hoped would raise at least $2,000 for Advocates.
There wasn't a registration fee to participate; skiers and snowshoers were asked to make donations to Advocates instead. And Moore received numerous donations from people who didn't attend the event.
"I think it's about supporting the program," Moore said.
Steamboat resident Michelle Dover won the best costume award for her display of swimwear, goggles, and a giant floaty around her stomach.
"It was great," Dover said of the event. "I'm so surprised so many people came out."
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