Multiple sclerosis fundraiser returns to Steamboat |

Multiple sclerosis fundraiser returns to Steamboat

Vertical Express for Can Do MS back for 28th year

Jack Weinstein

— An annual event that raises money for multiple sclerosis with a nearly 30-year history in Steamboat Springs was in danger of not returning. But it will.

The 28th annual Vertical Express for Can Do MS returns to Steamboat on Feb. 26. This year's event will feature a Super G race down the Sitz and See Me ski runs and an afternoon skills competition. Participants will be served breakfast and lunch on the mountain and dinner at the Ore House at Pine Grove.

Can Do MS, formerly the Heuga Center for MS, was founded in 1984 by Jimmie Heuga, a teammate of Billy Kidd's on the 1964 U.S. Olympic team. Huega died in February 2010 after a 40-year battle with MS.

To participate in Vertical Express, teams of three must raise $1,000. Registration is 7:30 to 9 a.m. Feb. 26 in the Round-up Room in Gondola Square, and teams can sign up until then.

Vertical Express director Bernice Kuca said the number of Vertical Express events at ski areas across the country has decreased from 14 to four in the past decade. She said Steamboat's was nearly cancelled this year.

"We're really concerned that the numbers have dropped over the years," she said. "We're trying to remind folks that the event is there and there's a lot of fun."

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Participants will be awarded prizes at the dinner in several categories, such as fastest man and woman and for the team that raises the most money, Kuca said.

Kuca said participating in Vertical Express is like skiing for somebody else.

"The event is important because it keeps alive Jimmy's love of skiing," Kuca said. "But it raises money to provide scholarships for people with MS to attend our programs. We're a small, grass-roots nonprofit. All the money that we raise is important."

Kuca said proceeds from the event help pay for programs that teach people how to manage their MS.

Like last year, the Vertical Express will be run in conjunction with the Feb. 26 Town Challenge ski race. Town Challenge participants, who will race after the Vertical Express teams, can be eligible for prizes by making a $10 donation. They will be accepted at registration.

Teams are encouraged to continue fundraising after Vertical Express. They have until March 17 to raise $15,000 for a free trip to Vail from April 12 to 15 for the awards celebration for all four Can Do MS events this year.

Kuca encouraged people to participate in Vertical Express for Can Do MS so it can continue returning to Steamboat Springs.

To register or for more information, visit or call Kuca at 508-404-7222 or toll free at 888-DO-IT-4MS (888-364-8467).

For more

To register for the 28th annual Vertical Express, or for more information, visit or call 888-DO-IT-4MS (888-364-8467).

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