Tommy Mewborn, 3, gets his skis on track Sunday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Tommy completed a 5-kilometer course to help raise funds for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse. More than 100 people participated in Sunday's event, which had a "Winter Land of Oz" theme complete with costumes and a yellow brick road at the finish line.

Photo by Mike Lawrence

Tommy Mewborn, 3, gets his skis on track Sunday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Tommy completed a 5-kilometer course to help raise funds for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse. More than 100 people participated in Sunday's event, which had a "Winter Land of Oz" theme complete with costumes and a yellow brick road at the finish line.

A day for families

Advocates event brings all ages to Steamboat Ski Touring Center

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Steamboat resident Ariana Whitney crosses through green "Emerald City" streamers Sunday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, after completing a 5-kilometer course to help raise funds for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse.

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Tommy Mewborn, 3, gets his skis on track Sunday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Tommy completed a 5-kilometer course to help raise funds for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse. More than 100 people participated in Sunday's event, which had a "Winter Land of Oz" theme complete with costumes and a yellow brick road at the finish line.

— Diane Holly may have a new strategy for dealing with cold weather: wrapping herself in plastic and going cross-country skiing.

Holly, a Milner resident, was one of 101 registered participants Sunday in the sixth annual Colorado Ski for Women event, a fundraiser for Advocates Against Battering and Abuse held at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center near Clubhouse Drive. The event raised about $3,000 for Advocates, a local nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence and addresses related family issues.

Sunday's event included snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on a 5-kilometer course, a chili lunch, music by The Yampa Valley Boys, live radio broadcasts by KFMU and Jack FM, coffee and hot chocolate from Starbucks Coffee Company, door prizes and a silent auction.

It also included numerous creative, colorful costumes.

The event's "Winter Land of Oz" theme brought plenty of familiar characters to the touring center, including Craig resident Jackie Hovis as Dorothy, Steamboat Springs resident Ariana Whitney as the Cowardly Lion, Steamboat resident Rebecca Lea as the Yellow Brick Road, 9-year-old Katie Brodie of Steamboat as the Wicked Witch of the West, and members of the Burkholder family - including father Greg and daughters Gretchen, 10, and Anna, 8 - as the Scarecrow, Dorothy and Wicked Witch, respectively.

Touring center staff got into the act by wearing conical Tin Man hats made of foil.

Holly had arguably the most inventive attire.

Dressed as the tornado that blew Dorothy and Toto out of Kansas, Holly wrapped layers of clear plastic over her ski gear and attached all sorts of flying debris - including a miniature cow, car and stoplight, along with several dolls - into the folds of the gusting "tornado."

"I raided the boys' toy box," Holly said after completing the course. "But I had to take my hat off - I found out plastic is a very good insulator. And my gosh, that was fun. The snow sparkled."

Blue skies and warm sun brought smiles to the faces of participants and staff at Sunday's fundraiser, which featured a makeshift yellow brick road leading to a finish line hung with green streamers to represent Oz's Emerald City.

"It's a great event for a not-so-glamorous but definitely worthwhile cause," Sheila Wright said.

Advocates helped more than 330 individual victims in 2006, according to Executive Director Diane Moore.

Moore said registration at the event raised $2,600, before the silent auction.

"This is a really nice way for the community to come together and have some fun," Moore said.

- To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203

or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com

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