Posted Wednesday, January 8, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communications Strategy Group
30th Annual Vertical Express for Can Do MS Commemorates Local Skiing Legend and Helps People with MS Live Fuller Lives
Ski or ride to make a difference in the lives of people living with MS at an on-snow fundraiser
Vail, Colo. (January 8, 2014) – As the world’s most elite athletes prepare to compete in Sochi, a Colorado-based national nonprofit will launch a two-day event to commemorate one of Colorado’s most distinguished world-class athletes and most generous individuals to those living with multiple sclerosis (MS). On February 7 and 8, 2014, the Vail Vertical Express for Can Do MS, an annual skiing extravaganza at Vail Mountain, will memorialize the athletic prowess and charity of Can Do MS founder, Jimmie Heuga, the first American ever to medal in Olympic ski racing. The event takes place on, and commemorates, the 50th anniversary of Heuga’s bronze medal.
Heuga has been referred to by many of his contemporaries as a “game changer” who paved a new path for people living with MS, and who changed the face of the ski racing sport globally.
Skiers, boarders and telemarkers of all ages and abilities will have the opportunity to test out Vail’s EpicMix Race Course, ski with Heuga’s teammate and fellow Olympic medalist, Billy Kidd, learn about adaptive skiing and participate in the Jimmie Heuga Memorial Ski Down, which will culminate in an Après celebration complete with live music. The event raises funds for Can Do MS, a national nonprofit and innovative provider of lifestyle empowerment programs that help families living with MS. The event has raised more than $11 million in its 29-year history and Can Do MS hopes to raise $50,000 at this year’s event.
“Vertical Express is an event that ties together one of our founder’s greatest loves, skiing, with his lifelong commitment to inspire and empower people with MS to enjoy a better quality of life, ” said Heidi A. Heltzel, president and CEO of Can Do MS. “We invite anyone whose lives have been touched by MS, as well as those who simply love to enjoy winter sports, to join us for a two-day celebration that showcases what one can do while making a meaningful difference for those living with MS and their families.”
Event registration is only $25, and benefits Can Do MS programs. Because Can Do MS offers free programs, the more funds that are raised at this event, the more people the nonprofit will be able to serve. Participants also have the opportunity to raise additional funds. Those who raise $250 or more are awarded VIP status, and receive prizes, a gift bag and perks at the Après party. Participants can register online at www.mscando.org/vail to start fundraising and will receive a personal web page that they can customize with their own messages and photos, allowing them to honor loved ones touched by MS and inspire others to support their participation.
The two-day event includes a variety of family friendly activities, listed below.
DAY ONE: Friday, February 7
What: Vail Vertical Express for Can Do MS Opening Ceremony Party
When: Friday, February 7, from 4 to 7p.m.
Where: Vail Marriott Mountain Resort (715 West Lionshead Circle, Vail, Colorado)
Registration and packet pickup; mingle with fellow Vertical Express participants.
Presentation on adaptive skiing by Barbara Szwebel, adaptive product manager at Vail Resorts.
Screening of “CAN DO: The Legacy of Jimmie Heuga,” celebrating the 50th anniversary of Heuga’s bronze medal win, with introduction by former teammate, Billy Kidd.
DAY TWO: Saturday, February 8
What: Vail Vertical Express for Can Do MS On-Mountain Events
When: Saturday, February 8, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Vail Mountain
8 a.m.-12 p.m.
Registration and packet pickup: Registration areas will be located outside in Lionshead Base Area and Gondola One in Vail Village, and inside the lobby at Vail Marriott Mountain Resort in Lionshead.
10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Races on EpicMix Race Course (first come, first served).
Adaptive skiing: Can Do MS will select several people living with MS to demonstrate adaptive skiing equipment and techniques. Limited opportunities are available for people living with MS.
Jimmie Heuga Memorial Ski Down: Simba ski run will be renamed “Jimmie Heuga Express” for the day and former teammate, Billy Kidd, will lead the ski down.
Après and Awards Party in the Colorado Ballroom of the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort.
Join Can Do MS for hors d’oeuvres, live music and a cash bar. VIP event attendees will receive drink tickets.
In addition to commemorating Can Do MS founder, Jimmie Heuga’s, bronze medal, this year’s event is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of Can Do MS. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.mscando.org/vail.
Vertical Express for Can Do MS national sponsors include Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, Biogen, Teva and Swany America Corp. The event is sponsored locally by Vail Valley Dental Care, Majestic Mountain Movers, Colorado Business Bank, Avon Liquor, Vail Resorts, Crazy Mountain Brewery, ECE Build Design, Nina Mclemore, Inc., and Vail Daily.
About Can Do MS
A national nonprofit organization based in Avon, Colo., Can Do MS is an innovative provider of lifestyle empowerment programs that empower people with MS and their support partners to transform and improve their quality of life. For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.mscando.org or call 970-926-1290.
About Vertical Express for Can Do MS
Vertical Express for Can Do MS began when Can Do MS founder Jimmie Heuga organized the first Snow Express for MS in Alyeska, AK. Original participants included fellow world-class skiers Jean Claude Killy, Phil and Steve Mahre, Billy Kidd, Stein Eriksen and Bernhard Russi, who together broke records when they skied one million vertical feet in 24 hours. This event raised the seed money needed to start Can Do MS and it continues to be an important fundraiser for the organization.