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Time to plan for annual Heuga event at Crystal

Now is the time for skiers and riders to get a team together for the largest on-snow charity race series in the country, Jimmie Heuga's Snow Express for MS (multiple sclerosis), presented by Columbia Sportswear. The Snow Express hosts events at 13 resorts in 11 states and three Canadian provinces, including a stop at Crystal Mountain March 5.

In its 19th year, the Snow Express is the largest source of funding for The Heuga Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) through education/wellness programs and ongoing research. A portion of the proceeds from the Crystal Mountain event is used to help area residents attend the center's acclaimed CAN DO Program, where they learn strategies to manage the disease and have more fulfilling lives. Each year nearly 1,000 Snow Express participants across the country make a great day on the slopes even better by having fun and winning prizes while raising money to help people with MS.

Teams of three raise $1,000 to compete in the unique day of racing where they challenge the clock, the mountain and other racers. Prizes are awarded based on a combination of on-snow results and successful fund-raising efforts and the top team at each event wins an expense-paid trip to Vail, Colo., for the International Finals March 13 through April 4. All participants receive a gift bag with commemorative items and product samples from sponsors.

In 2004, The Heuga Center celebrates its 20th anniversary. Founded by former Olympic ski racer Jimmie Heuga, who was diagnosed with MS at the height of his racing career, the center has served more than 6,500 people with MS, teaching them to focus on what they can do instead of what they cannot. Using exercise, mental wellness and motivation, the center's CAN DO programs promote health and create hope for people and families living with MS.

For information call 1-888-DO-IT-4-MS or visit www.heuga.org

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