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Ski challenge to benefit those challenged by MS

February 12, 1999|By Meg H. Partington

Some skiers hitting the slopes Friday, Feb. 19, at Whitetail Ski Resort will be challenging their bodies for the sake of those dealing with the physical trials of multiple sclerosis.

This is the sixth year the Mercersburg, Pa., resort has hosted Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express for MS, according to information provided by The Jimmie Heuga Center, a nonprofit scientific research organization.

The center was founded by its namesake in 1984 to help people with MS improve their lives. Heuga was diagnosed with the incurable disease in 1970, six years after he and Billy Kidd were the first American men to win skiing medals at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, according to the center.

Snow Express pits three-person teams against each other in a two-hour marathon and a dual giant slalom race.

During the marathon, teammates accumulate points based on the number of runs they complete in two hours, says Rachel Nichols, spokeswoman for Whitetail.

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"You just ski your butt off," Nichols says. "It's just a fun day."

Teams must raise at least $1,000 to participate. Twenty-five percent of the money raised at Whitetail is used for scholarships to send local people with MS to Heuga clinics, Nichols says.

The center has worked with more than 3,000 people with MS and their families in 4 1/2-day wellness programs throughout the United States and Canada.

The programs offered through the center are funded not only by Snow Express, but Mountain Bike Express, The New York Autumn Benefit, a golf invitational, sponsors, corporate gifts and other fund-raising functions, according to the center.

Whitetail has hosted Mountain Bike Express three times, Nichols says. Between that and Snow Express, the resort has raised between $30,000 and $35,000 for The Jimmie Heuga Center over the years, she says.

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