Pilates helps fund athletes

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— Many of Steamboat Springs' top skiers have discovered the benefits of Pilates when it comes to training.

Wendy Puckett, one of the owners of Steamboat Pilates and Fitness, hopes to make that connection stronger by hosting the annual Pilates-a-Thon, a fundraising effort for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

"We love the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club," Puckett said. "A lot of their athletes train with us in the preseason, and this is a chance for us to give back to the club."

Puckett said the instructors at the fitness center will donate their time Saturday to make the Pilates-A-Thon possible.

The Pilates-A-Thon begins at 7:30 a.m. and includes reformer classes, mat classes, children's Pilates, a fit ball mat class, a triple 20 mat class, a reformer ski conditioning class and a ski conditioning mat class. Classes range in price from $8 for a mat class to $15 for reformer classes. Puckett requests that people call to sign up for reformer classes, children's Pilates and massages.

"It's a method of training that strengthens and lengthens your muscles to maximize your body's potential," Puckett said. "It strengthens the deep muscles in your body, so that overall you're more efficient with your movement. You are left with the result of being very aligned and strengthened."

People who want to contribute to the Winter Sports Club but don't want to take a class can contribute by making donations or purchasing wristbands.

Massage therapist Gina Schiappa will donate her time by offering half-hour massages for $20.

The money raised by the event will be donated to the club in the form of scholarships for a male and a female athlete.

Last year, snowboarder Darren Ratcliffe and freestyle skier Kylie Douglas split the proceeds, which were close to $1,400.

This year, Puckett hopes to make enough money to award each scholarship recipient $1,000.

The nominees for the scholarship are selected by the directors of the Winter Sports Club and include athletes from Nordic, Alpine, freestyle and snowboarding disciplines. The directors then vote to select recipients.

Steamboat Pilates is at 1104 Lincoln Avenue in the Old West Building.

"We are just excited to raise money for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club," Puckett said.

For more information or to sign up for classes, call 879-6788.

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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