Heuga Center out to set records | VailDaily.com

Heuga Center out to set records

Melissa M. Kellogg
Jimmie Heuga in Steamboat Springs Sunday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of winning a bronze medal in the 1964 Olympics. Since then, Heuga has started the Edwards-based Heuga Foundation to help people suffering from multiple sclerosis.

EDWARDS – Have you ever wanted to break a world record? Well, now is your chance, and it can be done while benefiting a locally based charity and rubbing elbows with celebrities. The Heuga Center, based in Edwards, is holding its 20th annual Vertical Express for MS, Saturday. Participants will attempt two world records – one, at Vail Mountain, for the most vertical feet skied or ridden in one day and the second, at several resorts, for the largest on-snow fund-raising event. Celebrities and ski racing legends will be on hand to help in the record breaking attempt. “That’s really the key – that these people are coming together to raise money and, particularly, these celebrities have done this for many, many years and they’ve come together to raise money for people with MS and their family members,” says Heuga Center President, Brian Hutchinson. Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton along skiers Phil Mahre, Jeff Olson, Chris Anthony, Cindy Nelson and Rik Heid are scheduled to attend.The Heuga Center runs programs – such as its CAN DO courses – to people afflicted with multiple sclerosis.

“Our programs are designed to help people with MS as well as their support partners, who could be a spouse, a sibling, a parent in some cases,” says Hutchinson. “We teach them overall health promotion and wellness strategies so they can live healthy, active lives despite the fact that they have a chronic disease like MS.” This philosophy comes from Jimmie Heuga, a Olympic ski medalist, who was told he should just relax and take it easy when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1970. “He tried that for a while and it didn’t work for him,” Hutchinson says. “He found that when he did get back to his exercise he felt better about himself.”The money raised at Vertical Express for MS, which is being held at 22 ski resorts nationwide, will go directly to the Heuga’s Center’s programs, in which 7,000 people participated last year. Among the initiatives the event will fund are scholarships to the Heuga Center.

“We find a way that they can come to the programs,” says Hutchinson, “Seventy-five percent of our participants last year had some kind of scholarship.”The Vertical Express is the Heuga Center’s main fund-raising event and organizers hope to raise between $500,000 and $600,000. “People need to know that it’s going to be a really fun event – the weather’s going to be perfect that day and it should be a lot of fun and it’s a great cause,” Hutchinson says. ==========================================

To Learn MoreFor more information on the Vertical Express for MS or the Heuga Center, visit the event Web site at http://www.verticalexpress.com or call 800-DO-IT-4-MS.==========================================Vail, Colorado

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