Ski for MS
Ski for MS
Ski for MS (formerly Vertical Express) is the only national event series that combines skiing and fundraising to empower people with MS.
The nationwide tour includes stops at four of our favorite ski areas in the northeast hitting the slopes of Loon Mountain in New Hampshire (Feb. 4), Whiteface Mountain (Feb. 5), Belleayre Mountain (Feb. 11) and Gore Mountain (March 4) in New York.
Ski for MS offers on-mountain and apres ski activities for people of all ages and ability levels. Funds raised at these events support educational programs for people with MS and their support partners. Participants are not required to fundraise, but if you do, you get great VIP treatment and prizes.
Billy Kidd and Jimmie Heuga
Can Do MS’s roots run deep in the skiing world. The 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 Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, a national nonprofit and leading provider of innovative lifestyle empowerment programs for people living with MS and their support partners.
Heuga died on February 8, 2010, in Boulder, Colorado, due to complications from multiple sclerosis, exactly 46 years after he won his Olympic medal. The gold medalist in that slalom race, Pepi Stiegler of the Austrian national ski team, was also diagnosed with MS in 1993. A third skier from the 1964 Olympics, Egon Zimmerman the gold medalist from Austria in the downhill, also developed MS.
Since 1985, Ski for MS 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 32-year history.
“We’re grateful to have Whiteface, Belleayre and Gore Mountains partnering with us to bring more people together on the East Coast to raise money for MS,” said Jennifer Clark, director of marketing at Can Do MS. “Last year, we impacted 380 program students in New York alone. All proceeds from SKI for MS goes directly to our scholarship programs for each and every student to experience one of our life-changing programs across the country.”
SKI for MS is a fundraising event in which participants ask their friends and family to support their ski day on the mountain. The day-long event will feature an on-mountain scavenger hunt, amateur ski races, the Jimmie Heuga memorial ski down honoring Can Do MS founder and an après party.
Individuals can register for only $25 at mscando.org/SKIforMS or call 1-888-Do-It-4-MS.
Registrants will receive a personal web page that they can customize with their own messages and photos to honor loved ones touched by MS and inspire others to support their participation. Fundraisers are encouraged to create a team with their friends and family, raise $200 to earn VIP perks (includes a one-day lift ticket), and continue fundraising to win a variety of exciting prizes.
- Challenge yourself in the Ski for MS ski race.
- Join the Jimmie Heuga Express and ski down together.
- Celebrate with the community at the Après Party
- Live music
- Great prizes – new skis, season passes, and more
- The highest fundraiser in the country wins a ski trip for two to Vail Mountain!
*Top fundraiser prize (skis) requires a minimum fundraising amount of $1,000. All fundraising efforts that do not meet the $1,000 minimum threshold will be eligible to win other cool prizes.
SKI for MS supports student scholarships and offers free educational programs for those with MS and their families to help them thrive. The more funds that are raised, the more people Can Do MS will be able to serve. In 2017, Can Do MS aims to double its number of programs for people living with MS. This event series will make that a reality.