Can Do MS’s roots run deep in the skiing world. Our founder, Jimmie Heuga, was the youngest American to make the US Ski Team at age 15, and one of the first two Americans to win an Olympic medal in Slalom in 1964. Shortly thereafter, Jimmie was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). While the MS community in the 1970s advocated for a more careful, sedentary lifestyle, Jimmie felt otherwise.
In May of 1985, the tight-knit ski community rallied around Jimmie for the first annual Snow Express for MS, in Alyeska, Alaska. Ten Olympians, including Jean Claude Killy, Phil and Steve Mahre, Billy Kidd, Stein Eriksen and Bernhard Russi broke records, skiing one million vertical feet in 24 hours. The Snow Express for MS raised the seed money for, the now, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, a national nonprofit and leading provider of innovative lifestyle empowerment programs for people living with MS and their support partners.
Since 1985, Vertical Express for Can Do MS has grown, opening up to the public and anyone whose life has been touched by MS. The event has raised over $11 million in its 31-year history. We look forward to making the 2016 Vertical Express the most successful yet!