Benefits planned for Horton

Rescued skier still recovering, hopes to be dancing by fall

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When Charles Horton's leg heals, the first thing he wants to do is dance.

Horton even hopes to teach ballroom dancing this fall at Colorado Mountain College, but he will be sitting on the sidelines when a dance benefit for him is held next week.

It has been almost three weeks ago since Horton, a 55-year-old Steamboat Springs man, made local and national headlines by surviving eight nights in the wilderness, stranded with a broken leg.

Routt County Search and Rescue found Horton on April 25 after he was injured during what was supposed to be a one-day, cross-country ski trip in the Dunckley Pass area.

For nine days -- barely able to move because of his broken leg and with no one aware that he was missing -- Horton slept under the warm sun during the day and stayed awake during the chilly nights. He sucked on snow and ice for water and still had food when rescuers found him.

After surgery on his leg and treatment for hypothermia and dehydration, Horton was released from Yampa Valley Medical Center on May 4.

Now at home, Horton said he is recovering slowly. He is checked on regularly by the Visiting Nurse Association, does physical therapy and is working with his friends in the healing community.

The ordeal is still taking its toll, Horton said, noting that he can make a little bit of breakfast in the morning and then has to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before he can do a little bit more activity.

"I didn't realize how depleted I was from the dehydration and not eating out there," he said.

The profoundness of the experience has only deepened, he said.

"I think that will continue. I feel like I've only opened this up and gone through the first few pages," Horton said.

He hopes his ordeal will make others aware of to how caring and special the Steamboat community is. The response from friends and the community has been overwhelming, he said.

"How can you discover how much loving and caring there is without it changing you?" Horton asked.

Shortly after the ordeal, Horton had requests from major television networks for interviews and appeared on ABC's

"Good Morning America." He said the media fanfare has died down somewhat, but noted that he received an inquiry from a small Kentucky radio station recently.

He's not interested in being a celebrity, he said.

"I didn't seem to do anything special but survive. I kept warmed, laid in the sun and covered myself up," he said. "I guess people are looking for a story that comes out nice."

Two benefits are being held for Horton. Today, a yoga class will be offered from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Center for Movement Arts. The cost of the class is $15, with all proceeds going to Horton, who is uninsured.

On May 21, a dance will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight at the Center for Movement Arts. The cost of the event, which will feature a wide variety of dances and music, is $15 with all proceeds going to Horton.

Horton will not be out on the dance floor -- yet -- but said he does plan to make an appearance.

People wishing to contribute to Horton's medical bills can do so through an account in his name at Bank of the West. Donations can be sent to the Charles Horton Account in care of Bank of the West, P.O. Box 772948, Steamboat Springs, CO 80477.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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