Snow Express to see slight change this year |

Snow Express to see slight change this year

— Participants gearing up for the 17th annual Snow Express for MS will find a slight alteration to this year’s event.

In past years, the day begins with a marathon relay down See Me at Mount Werner followed by lunch and a dual giant slalom.

But with the increasing number of people participating in the event, co-event director Stacey Kramer said a skiing or snowboarding poker run felt like a fun, alternative activity in place of the marathon.

“We didn’t want to cut out the marathon,” Kramer said. “But this will give people options. This enables us to have more teams without impacting the marathon of more people.”

Participants will have the opportunity to compete in the marathon or the poker run, lessening the number of people on See Me and creating a unique family activity outing that doesn’t involve an intense competition.

“It widens the demographic appeal,” co-event director Jill Waldman said.

Snow Express for MS consists of snowboarders, Alpine skiers or telemark skiers of all ages and abilities that must raise $1,000 per team of three people to compete. For those struggling with raising all $1,000, call Kramer at 879-7860 or Waldman at 879-9020.

Each participant will receive a box of goodies along with the chance to win big prizes at the awards banquet.

Those in the marathon segment of the day have to ski down See Me as many times as they can in a certain time period.

Kramer said she wants to have at least six teams to participate in the poker run, but the numbers are not limited.

People will be given clues to find the various cards in envelopes placed around Mount Werner.

The team with the best poker hand and that ends in the quickest time wins.

“I’m really confident we’ll have 25 teams,” said Kramer, comparing this year to the 18 teams the event had last year. “We’re making a really concerted effort to have any- and everyone participate.”

This year’s monetary goal is $100,000. Last year the event raised more than $106,000.

But some challenges may arise because of the state of the nation’s economy and because The Weather Channel will not participate as a large sponsor.

More teams means more money donated to The Heuga Center, local scholarships and Routt County United Way.

Twelve and one-half percent of the proceeds are designated for Routt County United Way; the other 12.5 percent goes toward scholarships for locals who need The Heuga Center’s assistance.

Money raised by each team will benefit The Heuga Center, a nonprofit scientific research center dedicated to improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis.

“There’s been many contributions to the 9/11 Fund, so there’s not as much available to these kinds of charities,” Kramer said.

Heuga is scheduled to speak at the awards banquet March 3 at the Ore House to give thanks to participants and touch the many people who may never understand the effects of multiple sclerosis.

“To hear him speak, it reinforces why they’re doing this. They understand the importance,” Kramer said.

Jimmie Heuga took the bronze medal in slalom at the 1964 Olympics at the same time Billy Kidd was earning his silver medal in slalom.

In 1970, Heuga, 26, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Instead of agreeing with doctors that his condition would only deteriorate, Heuga pushed the boundaries to find a life of well-being and fulfillment.

He opened The Heuga Center in 1984 to share this philosophy with others affected by multiple sclerosis. Heuga currently lives in Lewisville.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. It is the most prevalent neurological disease among young adults in the country, affecting people between the ages of 20 and 40. There is no known cure for the disease but it is not fatal.

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