Dress up and ski for a cause

Colorado Ski for Women fund-raiser benefits Advocates

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If you go What: Annual Colorado Ski for Women: Benefit for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday; registration from 9 a.m. to noon Where: Steamboat Ski Touring Center Cost: Donation to Advocates Against Battering and Abuse

Every year, the number of men, women and children who show up to support Advocates Against Battering and Abuse almost doubles at the Colorado Ski for Women benefit. In the first year, a few people showed up to the fledgling event. Two years ago, the count was 85, and last year, 125 people registered -- most dressed in ridiculous costumes --and skied or snowshoed the five kilometers to the finish line.

But even as the numbers increase for the benefit, the numbers of clients and the need for funding grows at Advocates. According to the numbers at the end of 2004, Advocates served 34 more women than it had the year before. In all, 302 women came through the door of Advocates looking for help to get out of abusive situations or asking for support living life after a sexual assault.

The 2004 Ski for Women raised $3,000 through donations and silent auction bids. This year, organizers Diane Moore, executive director of Advocates, and Birgitta Lindgren, director of the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, hope to raise more.

The idea for Ski For Women came from Lindgren, who had seen a friend organize a similar event in Anchorage, Alaska, with great success.

"I thought this would be a great way to give something back to the community," she said.

Lindgren originally scheduled the event in late January to correspond with Super Bowl Sunday. There is a popular myth that Super Bowl Sunday sees the largest number of domestic violence cases each year. (The numbers are high but not the highest of the year, Moore said.)

Ski for Women will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Skis will be provided for free by the Steamboat Ski Touring Center while supplies last, and those who participate in the fund-raiser will be allowed to ski all day for free.

Participants will ski or snowshoe a 5K flat course. It is not a race, Lindgren said. People of all ability levels are welcome to participate, and all are encouraged to wear costumes in the "Nifty '50s" theme.

The person with the best costume will be given a season pass to the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Family costume prizes also will be awarded.

There is no registration fee, only a request to make a donation to Advocates. Last year, there were a few $1 donations, but most people gave $5 or $10, Lindgren said. Anyone who gives more than $50 will receive a bottle of wine. All participants will receive a goody bag and a free lunch.

A silent auction will follow the skiing portion of the event, and a quilt with the Colorado Ski for Women logo, made by Jo Stack and Sharon Rogan, will be raffled.

-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210

or e-mail aphillips@steamboatpilot.com

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