STARS Mountain Challenge raises more than $65K

Ashtyn, 5, and Andee Lamb, 2, competed in the STARS Mini Mountain Challenge with family last weekend. They dressed up as strawberry fairy unicorns.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Strawberry fairy unicorns took to the slopes of Steamboat Resort this weekend on a mission to raise money for Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS).

The strawberry fairy unicorns are also known as the Lamb sisters, Ashtyn, 5, and Andee, 2. They embarked on the STARS Mountain Challenge mini challenge with their mom Jamie, father David and grandparents Scott Alperin and Becky Lamb.

There weren’t enough wings for the grown-ups, so they wore capes.

Donning their costumes, the three generations spent a couple of days skiing in the modified mini mountain challenge, which took place over March 18 to 21, rather than just one day. The three-day challenge raised $65,500 for STARS. The fundraising isn’t complete, though, as donations can be accepted through Sunday evening.

“They loved searching for the animal signs on Why Not and stopping to take the photos,” said Jamie Lamb. “We’d talk about what we were going to look for, and they’d start skiing and then, ‘Mom, mom, I found it.’ Super excited when they found stuff. They love skiing, but this was the most fun day skiing for them.”

The mini challenge has been a part of the Mountain Challenge since the event’s beginning as a means to get STARS participants or families with small children involved. The Lambs have participated in the big challenge for five or six years now, but with Ashtyn and Andee being old enough to ski and participate, they embarked on the adventure as a family. Now, there will be no going back to the typical mountain challenge.

“We really love the organization. We’ve been sponsoring them for years,” Jamie said. “We think it’s such an incredible organization, and a wonderful asset to our community. But, it was really enjoyable to be able to include the girls for the first time, and I’m sure we’ll do it this way moving forward.”

The Lambs and the Edward Jones team were one of 13 teams taking part in the weekend-long event. In addition to extending the duration of the event, STARS also implemented another change. Those who deferred their Ikon Pass, weren’t around or simply chose not to ski could still be part of a team but in a fundraising role. Not every team member was required to ski. Instead, if the team member was in the top 10 of fundraising individuals, they could earn points for their team that way.

Teams earn points by participating in something that resembles a scavenger hunt. The event map is revealed the night before and shows which lifts and runs are worth certain points. The teams then strategically spend the day racking up points, and whichever has the most at the end of the day, or weekend, wins.

With a strong fundraising effort, STARS took home nearly as much money as they would in non-pandemic years.

“We were very impressed with how many people were still interested in supporting us even though we had to have it in a different format,” said Rebecca Hext, volunteer and special events coordinator for STARS. “We overall ended up netting a little more money than we did in previous years, because our overhead costs were not as much without reserving space for big parties and such. We were still able to make it really fun and raise just about the same amount of money, which we’re really excited about.”

The Yampa Valley Bank team competed in the STARS Mountain Challenge. (Courtesy photo)

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