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SSWSC supports COVID-19 Response Fund through Community Strong Challenge

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is initiating a Community Strong Challenge, through which athletes will use pledges-per-mile of activity to raise money for the Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund.
SSWSC/Courtesy

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is full of capable athletes who have been doing their best to stay self-disciplined and creative while keeping active. The Winter Sports Club now wants to leverage those abilities to help raise money for the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the Community Strong Challenge, the SSWSC will raise money for the Yampa Valley COVID-19 Response Fund. SSWSC Strength and Conditioning Director Sady Tobin came up with the idea as a way to keep athletes motivated. 

“I was looking for ways to give them some challenges and keep a little bit of a schedule while they can during these unknown times,” she said. “It’s also a really good opportunity for our athletes to give back to our community that gives to Winter Sports Club so much.”

Athletes, staff and coaches will accumulate pledges per mile and from 6 a.m. Friday, April 17, to midnight Sunday, April 19, they’ll try to rack up as much mileage as they can via snowshoes, bikes, running, hiking or skiing. They will record their mileage and track their progress via the Strava app on the Community Strong website. The club doesn’t have a monetary goal, as they know many people are financially stressed during the pandemic. Still, there is a goal for athletes to reach a combined total of 2,000 miles. 

As of Wednesday evening, the Community Strong Challenge, which uses the hashtag #CommunityStrongSSWSC, has raised $450. 

“In the long history of the club, we’ve done fundraising things that involve the kids and tracking things, but it’s always been for the club,” said SSWSC Executive Director Sarah Floyd.  “This is for the community.”

Donors can cap their pledges at a certain amount or give a one-time donation. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the COVID-19 Response Fund, which has a $15,000 match and is 83% of the way to its goal. 

Of course, athletes will record their miles individually, following social distancing guidelines, but a common goal will serve as a way to bring club members and the community together during a time of isolation. 

“A lot of the athletes are excited to have something on their calendar to look forward to,” Tobin said. “I think it’ll build in the next couple of days.”

Tracking and posting everyone’s activity will be a way for runners and bikers to see where everyone else is going. A few weeks into self-isolation, they’ve probably exhausted their typical routes and are looking for new places to explore. 

Creating and running a program entirely through technology and executing it in a matter of weeks will likely pose some challenges. Tobin said she plans on reaching out to families of some of the younger athletes and helping them set up a way for their child to track their miles, even if they don’t have their own smartphone.

“I think it’s a pretty cool opportunity for our athletes to be able to reflect and say, ‘Wow, there’s a chance for me to be able to raise money and give back to the community while we’re going through such a weird, hard time,’” Tobin said.

To set up a matching donation, contact SSWSC Foundation Director of Development Ellen Campbell at ecampbell@sswsc.org.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.


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