February 20, 2006
Squaw Valley USA (Squaw Valley Press Release)—The Vertical Express for MS hits the slopes at Squaw Valley USA on March 4-5, 2006. The Express, an event for skiers and riders of all abilities, benefits The Heuga Center, a national non-profit organization and leader in the field of wellness and educational programs for people and families living with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic, disabling disease of the central nervous system that affects over 400,000 Americans.
The Vertical Express for MS involves teams of three skiers and/or riders who raise a minimum $1000 to enter. The weekend's activities include two on-snow events, including a mountain challenge and GS race, a race clinic, great prizes for both performance and fundraising, complimentary lift tickets, food and cocktail parties, and goodie bags. Any team that raises $15,000 or more wins a free trip to Vail, Colorado, April 6-9, 2006 for the April Awards celebration. Those who can't take part in person can participate on-line. Anyone can register for the Vertical Express for MS by logging on to www.verticalexpress.org or by calling 1.888.DO.IT.4MS.
Last year, the event at Squaw Valley raised a record $160,000. Funds generated will support the Heuga Center's one, three, and five-day programs that teach people with this incurable, neurological disease how to manage it to the best of their ability.
Jimmie Heuga founded the center in 1984 with the purpose of sharing his unique approach to living with multiple sclerosis. His idea was that appropriate exercise can be beneficial to those suffering from the condition. Six years after winning the 1964 Olympic Slalom bronze medal, Jimmie's professional skiing career was ended when he was diagnosed with MS. At that time, he followed the advice of his doctors and for several years remained sedentary. Eventually, he rebelled and began exercising again to regain his health. By the end of one year, he had bicycled 1,000 miles and swam 50 miles.
The idea of exercise for people with MS is the basic premise upon which The Heuga Center's CAN DO programs are based. The Center's wellness approach to MS, which focuses on what people with MS can do, rather than what they can't do, is now widely embraced by the medical community. The Heuga Center seeks to complement existing treatments for people with MS by providing important education and advice in areas of overall health and wellness, areas that are increasingly under-represented in an overburdened health care environment.
The event for MS at Squaw Valley has exceptional meaning both to the mountain and to the Heuga organization. Jimmie Heuga spent many years perfecting his slalom skills on the slopes of Squaw Valley and his father was a longtime employee. Squaw Valley takes pride in Jimmie's accomplishments as an Olympic skier and as the founder of such a remarkable organization that has bettered the lives of so many people living with MS.
The Vertical Express for MS is presented by Columbia Sportswear Co. and Rolex Watch, USA, and sponsored by RSN, Wilson-Lass, Central House, R & B Cellars, High Sierra Sport Co., Dermatone Laboratories, Swany America, Heat Treat Warmers, Vacation Connections, Vail Daily, NRC Broadcasting and TV8, PlumpJack and Squaw Valley USA.
For more information about the Vertical Express for MS at Squaw, visit www.heuga.org.