BOEC in the News

Wounded Heroes Family Adventures brings in veterans, families for a week in the mountains

Posted Wednesday, August 10th, 2016 by Bruce

Joseph Sandlin and his family look forward to returning to Colorado, joining Wounded Heroes Family Mountain Experience for the second time. Sandlin, his fiancée Dana Pullum, and two sons will come to Breckenridge for a week as a “mentor family” with the program, helping the families who will join them next week get to know each other.

“We got to meet some friends for life,” Sandlin reminisced. “We got to share some of the issues with each individual family to let them know they’re not alone in this fight. We share the same symptoms, the same problems.”

Sandlin, a former sergeant with the U.S. Army, did two tours in Iraq with the 2-11th field artillery regiment. He was later deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 with the 101st airborne division.

That November, he was awarded a purple heart after he sustained a traumatic brain injury from a suicide bomber.

“It was the first time I really got hit outside of my vehicle. I was on my feet,” he said. “I had shrapnel in my hip. … I remember bits and pieces. I remember the flash and some other stuff.”

He was medivac’d out of Afghanistan before he was medically retired in Fort Campbell. In Tennessee, he met Dana.

“That was just meant to be — hook, line and sinker,” he said. “Dana, she’s an awesome person. She’s got an awesome personality, too; she’s just easy to talk to.”

Last summer, Sandlin said with her outgoing personality and experience working with PTSD, she brought the entire group together.

“We’ll go up there and see if she can work her magic again,” he chuckled. “I think she can.”

Dana’s magic is just one of many pieces bringing together the program, hosted three times a year by Wounded Heroes Family Adventures. Another piece, Bob and Bonnie Miller came together to create the local nonprofit in 2008, offering ski trips for veterans and their families throughout the winter.

A few years ago, the program expanded to the summer, partnering with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center to offer rock climbing, high ropes courses, kayaking and more.

“It’s a really neat bonding experience,” said Jules Stennes, a volunteer who helps lead the summer camp. “This program is unique, in that it’s small and local even though we have families from all over the world.”

She and her husband, Patch, became involved in the program while working at Breckenridge Grand Vacations, which provides a week of lodging for the families. They have volunteered for four years since, hosting dinners with families and leading them through the great outdoors.

“There’s that outdoor activity element that we love, exposing people to new experiences,” she said.

PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES

Next week, the program will host a total of nine families. As it is, most are Iraq or Afghanistan veterans working through everything from knee injuries to PTSD.

“The idea is to get families more comfortable,” Stennes said. “This is way to unwind, I think, from their daily challenges.”

Last June, Wounded Heroes Family Adventures launched a new summer program with BOEC’s help. The four-day program, known as Family Mountain Adventure, hosts families at BOEC’s Griffith Lodge near the base of Peak 9. BOEC also offers scholarships for the program.

Throughout the entire year of programs, Wounded Heroes Family Adventures will also bring in counselors to lead family enrichment programs, helping educate families about communication, traumatic injuries and PTSD.

“You don’t hear too much about it in the public eye,” Sandlin said. “The more you know about something, the more you can combat it.”

Denise Hargon, a retired Army officer and board member with Wounded Heroes Family Adventures, said they interview families before and after each program to determine what worked well, and what needs to change.

“One of our main goals is to improve communication and awareness within families,” she said. “These people stay in touch. They’re friends after they leave.

It’s just a very powerful thing for them to have that support from someone else who’s going through the same thing they’re going through.”

Stennes added that while it might take time for the families to get to know each other and build trust, the end result is worth it.

“It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking to hear their stories,” she said. “It’s rewarding work. It’s exciting to see a group come together.”

Sandlin still talks to families all over the country, from Arkansas to Florida. He added that he and his family would continue to spread the word about the program to other veterans, so they might experience it, too.

“We’re just so grateful for Patch and Jules bringing this together; they’re just amazing people,” he said. “We go to places like this and make lifelong friends.”

Elise Reuter
Summit Daily News
August 4, 2016

Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center Celebrates 40th Birthday

Posted Thursday, July 28th, 2016 by Bruce

By the numbers:
$76,362 in ski scholarships extended to Ski Program participants
19,627 hours donated by 325 volunteers
9,258 program days 112 veterans served
955 students took ski/snowboard lessons
32 percent of students received scholarships
60 percent participants from Colorado
81 percent of funds go to program services
12 percent of funds go to administrative costs

The campers gingerly crawled across the spider’s web of cables, ladders and platforms woven around the lodgepole pines. The wheelchair accessible high ropes course, open last week to participants with the Brain Injury Alliance, ended with a quick zipline trip to the base of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center’s Wilderness Campus. BOEC has worked with the Brain Injury Alliance for several years, among several other groups the center hosts each year. A wall length calendar in their office is packed with dates, each one a program for one of the hundreds of agencies they serve.

Breckenridge Nordic Center owner Gene Dayton was the mastermind behind BOEC. After moving to Summit County, he began offering adaptive Nordic ski courses for people with disabilities, partnering with Olav Pedersen, founder of the Ski for Light program, and local doctor Aris Sophocles to create the BOEC.  “That evolved two years later into BOEC’s adaptive sports program,” Executive Director Bruce Fitch said. “Gene’s vision was to create Outward Bound for the disabled.”

In 1976, the center acquired their current Wilderness Campus, the old Breckenridge town reservoir at the base of Peak 9. An old mining cabin, which used to serve as BOEC’s main operations, still rests on the wooded shore. In 1981, the center began offering a downhill ski program at Ski Cooper. Thanks to advancements in adaptive ski technology, it has little resemblance to the current program. “Back then there wasn’t any adaptive ski equipment,” Fitch said, “just a sled and rope.” Volunteers would tow people up the mountain, and let them “ski” down about 200 yards. Now, BOEC has offered adaptive ski programs to more than 900 students at the Breckenridge and Keystone Ski Resorts.

While the center began offering wilderness courses shortly after, the donation of the Scott Griffith Lodge in 1994 advanced the program by large strides. Richard and Anne Griffith donated it in memory of their son, a BOEC client who died of cancer. “A lot of our clientele needed a residential site,” Fitch said. “I think that was the trigger that got our summer program going.”

Helping Those Who Serve

Since 2008, the number of military BOEC has served has tripled, the center’s Development Director Marci Sloan said. “We’ve been able to grow with some unique opportunities,” Sloan said. “We’ve been able to do a little bit more because of funding.”

The Center hosts Wounded Heroes Family Adventures every year, with the goal of supporting both veterans and their families. “It changes lives,” Fitch said. A retired Army Sergeant Major, Robert Ahern III, wrote BOEC after going on a six day rafting trip with his family through the canyon of Lodore. “The first day on the rafts and in the river was so exciting; my family was astonished at the natural beauty of the canyons,” he said. “This trip brought my family so much closer and made me forget my anger with the war. We have built a lifetime of memories together and strengthened our family bonds over those six short days.”

To open their programs to as many as possible, BOEC subsidizes program fees by 60 percent. They also have a scholarship fund for individuals or families unable to meet program costs. “The bottom line is we’re not turning people away,” board chairman Tim Casey said. “We’re proud of that,” Fitch added. “For a lot of people we work with, the disability has wiped them out financially.”

BOEC serves a wide spectrum of disabilities, from those who have lost the ability to walk, to those suffering from PTSD, to children and adults with mental health concerns. They also work with local at risk youth, and provide programs for survivors of domestic violence.

SEEKING CAPITAL

In 2015, the center launched a capital finance campaign with four goals: creating staff housing, expanding program activities, increasing their scholarship endowment and upgrading administrative support facilities. To start, the nonprofit is seeking $1.85 million to address these needs.

“The biggest obstacle for working for BOEC is finding a place you can afford to live,” Fitch said. “We quickly identified we have to do something to help with that situation.” Seeking out local architect Jon Gunson to redesign a leaky roof at their headquarters, a former Town of Breckenridge sanitation building, he suggested that adding another floor to the building would be possible. The third floor would offer apartments for BOEC’s eight core staff, many of whom work on a seasonal basis. “We’ve had all of these wonderful affordable housing initiatives. But even those aren’t affordable for us,” Fitch said. “We want to do anything we can to attract and retain quality staff.”

In addition, the center plans to add an elevator to their headquarters, making it wheelchair accessible. They also plan to add loft storage to the warehouse space, increasing capacity by 60 percent.

BOEC has already seen several in kind donations for the project, including Rock Ridge Builders and Custom Mountain Architects offering their services in construction.

“These were two major contributions right out of the gate,” Fitch said. “The in kind support for this project has been unbelievable.” The center has also seen significant support from the town of Breckenridge and Vail Resorts. The town offered BOEC a 50 year lease for their headquarters and a 25year lease for their Wilderness Campus, both at $1 per year.

Vail Resorts donates free lift tickets for students, volunteers and staff, as well as two offices at the base of Keystone and Breckenridge, in exchange for BOEC offering their adaptive skiing services at the ski school. “We fulfill that function,” Fitch said. “BOEC would not exist without all their support.”

The Summit Foundation also donated $50,000 to the capital campaign, and Breckenridge Grand Vacations contributed an equal amount. This leaves BOEC with a remaining $250,000 to reach their fundraising goal.

“What a generous community Summit County is,” Fitch said. “People have stepped up in spades. It’s extraordinary; more than we’d ever expect.”

Elise Reuter
Summit Daily News

July 14, 2016

Breckenridge Brewery supports BOEC

Posted Monday, July 11th, 2016 by Bruce

Breckenridge BreweryBreckenridge Brewery is proud to support BOEC by donating $1 from every tour reservation fee from July through December!  The production brewery in Littleton offers public tours Thursday through Monday. The $3 tour reservation fee (of which $1 is donated) includes 5 tastings, an informative tour of Colorado’s 3rd oldest craft brewery, and memorable camaraderie!  Those not interested in tasting, or those under 21, are welcome to tour the brewery at no charge.  Reservations can be made in advance at www.breckbrew.com/about/tours.

Many thanks from the BOEC to Breckenridge Brewery!

(Please note that the tour donation program applies to tours of the Breckenridge Brewery production facility in Littleton, Colorado. The Breckenridge Brewery here in Breck on Main Street has long supported BOEC through donations to fund-raising events.)

 

Slifer Smith & Frampton Foundation Gift Match

Posted Monday, July 11th, 2016 by Bruce

live local give local

Summer Match Madness

Starting July 8 through July 31 your donations can go twice as far!

This means that Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate will match all donations, dollar for dollar, to local Summit County charities up to a total of $15,000!

To have your donation to BOEC matched, visit SSFfoundationsummit.org and GIVE starting July 8th!

About the Summer Match Madness matching program:

In keeping with the SSF Foundation’s giving philosophy, donations must be direct contributions made to the pre-approved list of nonprofit organizations, which includes the BOEC. The SSF Foundation will match up to $2,000.00 per single organization in an effort to diversify giving. 

Breckebeiner ski-a-thon returns for BOEC’s 40th anniversary

Posted Saturday, March 19th, 2016 by Bruce

The breathless skiers finished the final six-kilometer circuit, skating back to the Breckenridge Nordic Center. One dedicated 65-year-old woman had been skiing since 5 a.m. to reach her goal of just over 60 kilometers.

The parade of costumed skiers dedicated their efforts to help raise funds for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, as part of the annual Breckebeiner 60k Nordic Ski-a-Thon and Snowshoe.

Breckenridge Nordic Center program director Therese Dayton recalled previous years, when she skied the full 60k, with friends offering to donate funds for each kilometer.

“Each time I came around, I was ready to quit, until I started thinking, I’m not just skiing to raise money for BOEC,” she said. “I’m skiing so one individual can afford to come and have a total mountain experience in Breckenridge, and there’s no better place. It renewed my strength to ski in a blizzard.”

This year’s event was far from a blizzard, with costumed skiers grinning ear-to-ear in the groomed powder and bluebird skies. Inside, local duo Andy Grogger and Peter Krainz serenaded the group with Austrian folk music. The EpicPromise Foundation provided food for the event, while the Breckenridge Nordic Center donated skis, snowshoes and volunteers.

“They donate everything for the event, so there’s no cost,” BOEC development director Marci Sloan said. “100 percent is going to us. It’s really great.”

Last year, the event brought in a fundraising record of $40,000. This year, the event brought in $18,000 in advance of the race.

“Most years, (the money) goes to the tuition fund to help people who can’t afford it,” Sloan said. “If they need additional scholarships, it will go toward them attending our camps.”

A NOTABLE ANNIVERSARY

The Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center’s programs are focused on providing outdoor experiences to a wide group of participants, from the visually impaired to injured veterans to at-risk students. All fees are subsidized, with the BOEC serving 2,520 participants from more than 40 states. This year, the program is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

“Here in our 40th year, we’re starting a capital campaign to raise $1.8 million to keep us going for the next 40 years,” BOEC executive director Bruce Fitch said. “We already have 60 percent of that raised.”

The funds will go to staff housing, office upgrades, program and activity improvements at the Wilderness Campus and a larger scholarship endowment. BOEC’s current programs include an adaptive ski and ride school, and a variety of summer and winter activities custom-designed for specific groups.

“Across the board, they’re all working on interpersonal skills, confidence, having fun in outdoors, learning new skill set,” Wilderness programs director Jaime Benthin said. “We’re opening their eyes to something they don’t get to do every day.”

The BOEC works with the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado, Mountain Mentors, Summit County Youth and Family Services, Children’s Hospital Colorado and numerous other organizations.

“It’s amazing the program they’re running and how many thousands of people are served annually with BOEC,” Therese Dayton added.

Her experience with the program also holds a special significance for her — it was how she met Gene Dayton.

“Feb. 10, 1985 was the day I met my husband,” she recalled. “It’s the reason we met because I was coming here to work with BOEC. It just happened the program was here.”

Gene Dayton, co-founder of the Breckenridge Nordic Center, is considered the founding director of the BOEC. And the Breckebeiner event was formed after another notable anniversary — Gene’s 60th birthday.

“On my husband’s 50th birthday, I surprised him with 180 friends. He was in shock,” Therese Dayton laughed.

For his 60th, instead of being the recipient of another surprise party, Gene Dayton took inspiration from Norwegian cross-country skier Freda Langell, who skied 75,000 vertical feet for her 75th birthday to raise funds for a local nonprofit. In Gene’s case, it was 60k for his 60th birthday.

“I’m just about finished,” Gene Dayton said, sitting at a table at the lodge. Having skied 42k earlier that day, he had just a few laps to go.

“It was a real joy to be part of an organization that had a future and longevity,” he said.

“It really brings people hope, gives them a chance to try some outdoor activities, and take that experience or accomplishment home,” Therese Dayton added. “You go and meet people and see how it’s changed their lives. They surprise me with the wonder of it all, the joy of being in the mountains — it’s very healing.”

The Summit Daily
March 19, 2016

BOEC brings Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour to Breckenridge for 7th year

Posted Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016 by Bruce

In the trailer for “Climbing Ice: The Iceland Trifecta,” an ice climber smiles as she claws her way out of a large hole in the ice, wearing a large backpack.

“Another great day in paradise,” she quips, slightly out of breath, to her comrades.

That sentence may well describe any of the films to be seen at the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Breckenridge this Friday, Feb. 26. For the seventh year, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center is hosting the film festival, bringing jaw-dropping films to the exact type of audience that loves them — residents and visitors of the Colorado Rockies.

Nine films were chosen to be shown at this year’s Breckenridge stop, and each offers a glimpse of the lives of adventurous individuals.

Some, like “Climbing Ice” and “Women’s Speed Ascent,” document attempts at breaking records and achieving feats never done before. “Reel Rock 10: A Line Across the Sky” is the longest of the films at 40 minutes and focuses on climbers Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold taking on the Fitz Traverse in Patagonia. The traverse, which has at times been called impossible, consists of four miles, six peaks and 13,000 vertical feet. The views are breathtaking.

Those yearning for summer will find a treat in “UnReal,” which follows the exploits of mountain bikers — though they do tackle some snowy terrain as well.

A few of the films go beyond the physical exploits and look into the mindset of what makes the outdoors special, such as “The Important Places.” “Ice Climbers” and “Eclipse” offer a photographer’s perspective on these types of journeys as well.

“We always pick the top award winners,” said BOEC development director Marci Sloan, on deciding which films will be shown in Breckenridge. “We really try to stick with the theme of the celebration of the outdoors or a great human story. And that fits well with our mission.”

ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE

The BOEC is a locally-based nonprofit that provides educational, instructive and enjoyable experiences to people with disabilities and special needs. Situated on 39 acres near Breckenridge, the BOEC facility includes a lodge, climbing wall and high-ropes course. Its year-round programming features options for children and adults to participate in a number of active engagements.

Among its programs is an Adaptive Ski and Ride school, in which instructors help those with disabilities to learn to ski and snowboard. This includes wounded veterans, many attending The Hartford Ski Spectacular in Breckenridge each year. The BOEC also hosts wilderness programs in summer and winter, professional team-building retreats and an internship program. Proceeds from the film festival are put toward supporting these adaptive programs.

“It’s our hugest awareness event,” Sloan said. “We see lots of benefits from the event, whether it’s somebody becoming a new donor or volunteer or coming on our programs.”

IN THEIR 40’s

This year, the BOEC will also celebrate its 40th anniversary as a Summit County nonprofit organization. As chance would have it, the Banff film festival just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. The films showing this Saturday are all its 2015 films, from the 40th celebration.

As in past years, there will be a VIP reception before the film festival, including food and drinks. The Pine Beatles, a local band, will also be performing.

Tickets for the festival are currently available online at www.boec.org. Sloan urges people to buy them online rather than waiting, as they sell out every year.

Summit Daily News
February 23, 2016

BOEC Receives Major Support from Marmot Mountain LLC

Posted Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 by Bruce

BRECKENRIDGE, CO – (August 3, 2015) – Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC), is pleased to announce that it has received a large donation of quality outdoor clothing and gear from renowned outdoor products manufacturer Marmot Mountain LLC. The clothing and gear, valued at over $20,000, will be issued to BOEC students and staff, and for use at BOEC events.

“We are extremely pleased and honored to be recognized by Marmot. Many of our students with disabilities come to our courses under-prepared and providing use of quality rain and snow wear, gloves, warm clothing, etc. is critical to their enjoyment and success on course. In addition, providing quality outdoor wear to our staff is a huge benefit for their hard work,” says Bruce Fitch, Executive Director of BOEC.

Marmot Mountain LLC, based in Rohnert Park, CA, is world-renowned for their high quality outdoor wear and equipment and has long been a strong supporter of non-profit causes. “Marmot is pleased to offer this support to BOEC. We are honored to provide our products to an often under-recognized outdoor enthusiast—those with disabilities and special needs, including wounded warriors and their families,” says Tom Fritz, VP of Marketing for Marmot. “Marmot has been supporting wounded warrior programs for many years since the Iran conflict took one of our own staff into the National Guard and away from home for close to two years. We are all pleased to continue to make a difference,” adds Laura Miera, VP of Technical Product Development for Marmot. See more on their website, www.marmot.com.

Wounded Warriors Family Adventure offers off-snow outdoor experience

Posted Monday, September 28th, 2015 by Bruce

Eight families participated in the Wounded Warriors Family Mountain Experience Program Sept. 12-17. The families took part in team building activities, canoeing and a ropes course on the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center campus before dinner at Carter Park. The program also included camping and rafting on the Colorado River.

In 2008, Bob and Bonnie Miller created The Wounded Warriors Family Ski Week to offer recreational therapy opportunities to soldiers severely wounded in combat operations. The Wounded Warriors Family Mountain Experience was designed for the family who prefers outdoor activities in the mountains without snowsports.

Summit Daily News
September 25, 2015

Congressman Polis to visit BOEC

Posted Monday, September 28th, 2015 by Bruce

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) will visit Breckenridge on Wednesday, Aug. 5, starting with a tour of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.

From 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., BOEC staff will show him the role the outdoors can play in rehabilitation and physical therapy and will talk with him about the importance of preserving outdoor spaces for future generations.

He recently introduced a public land conservation bill — the Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act — that would designate about 58,000 acres of wilderness and other special management areas in Summit and Eagle counties.

The bill was crafted with input from dozens of local stakeholder groups, including representatives from the ski and outdoor recreation industry, environmental groups, water districts and municipalities. In May, he hosted the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee to see the proposed areas.

Then Polis will host a public town hall meeting from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Breckenridge Grand Vacation Community Center and Summit County South Branch Library, at 103 S. Harris St. Residents are invited to ask questions and share thoughts, ideas and feedback.

Summit Daily News
August 4, 2015

Breckebeiner Nordic ski and snowshoe event benefits Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center

Posted Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by Bruce

It’s not every day that a pack of people dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles zoom around the trails at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. But if there is any day to expect that kind of thing, it’s the annual Breckebeiner ski-a-thon.

This will be the 13th year of the event, officially titled the Breckebeiner 60K Nordic Ski-a-thon and Snowshoe Bash. On Saturday, March 21, teams and individuals will take to the tracks, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing to raise money for each kilometer they complete. All funds raised will be donated to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, a local nonprofit that provides educational outdoor programs to people with disabilities and special needs.

KEEPING PROGRAMS AFFORDABLE

The BOEC has existed as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization for the past 38 years. Among those who benefit from the organization’s programs are adults, children and injured veterans. Winter programs include adaptive snowsports lessons, like skiing and snowboarding. For the past 27 years, the BOEC has partnered with Disabled Sports USA to put on The Hartford Ski Spectacular, a five-day-long event that brings people with disabilities from all over the United States, including wounded veterans, to the slopes of Breckenridge Ski Resort to learn how to ski and snowboard. Classes range from beginner to those training to compete professionally.

Summer offers a variety of camp opportunities, from canoeing to a ropes course, over one or several days.

“The BOEC has a huge and wonderful and highly recognized Alpine ski program,” said Therese Dayton, who runs the Breckenridge Nordic Center with her husband Gene, one of the co-founders of the BOEC. “I don’t know that people always have the full picture, if you’re not intimately involved in it, that the BOEC is a very well-known year-round program. There’s availability for programming this summer.”

The donations raised from the Breckebeiner event will be specifically directed toward a fund that provides financial assistance for those who cannot afford the BOEC program fees. In the 2013-14 fiscal year the organization’s programs served 2,275 participants from 41 states and six countries. Of those participants, 32 percent took advantage of $165,409 worth of scholarships.

SKIING, SNOWSHOEING, COSTUMES AND MORE

The Breckebeiner came into being in conjunction with Gene Dayton’s 60th birthday. He wanted to use his birthday to help a good cause.

“I do not just want a party for myself, I really want to do something where I set a goal, ski a certain distance and raise money for a nonprofit,” Therese recalled Gene telling her.

That first time, Gene asked his friends and family to cross-country ski with him to raise money for the BOEC. Since then, the event has grown, and locals and visitors alike participate, many wearing wigs and outlandish costumes.

The name Breckebeiner is a play on “birkebeiner,” a word with Norwegian roots. The American Birkebeiner is a cross-country ski race (54K for classic skiers, 50K freestyle). That race was named after the Birkebeinerrennet, a cross-country ski race in Norway, which commemorates a historical event in which two men carried the young king of Norway on skis through treacherous terrain during the 12th century.

The Breckebeiner is a colorful, festive affair, with costumes encouraged and food donated by Vail Resort’s EpicPromise branch. Teams and individuals collect donations based on how many kilometers they ski, with the goal to reach a full 60. They don’t have to do all 60 kilometers (about 37.2 miles) in one day, however. Since last Saturday, March 14, participants have started counting their miles at Summit’s Nordic centers. Many choose to complete the 60K in small increments leading up to the Breckebeiner.

Day-of participation, however, is perfectly fine as well. A minimum $25 donation per adult ($10 per child) is all it takes to jump in this Saturday. Rental equipment will be available at a discounted rate. Spectators will have plenty to cheer about as the skiers loop comes close to the lodge.

Both classic and skate-style skiers can take to the intermediate groomed terrain. Loops of 6 and 3 kilometers will be marked, as well as a 3-kilometer snowshoe course. For very young participants, there will be a 1-kilometer snowshoe course featuring a treasure hunt at noon.

“I like the enthusiasm of the participants, and it’s for such a good cause,” said Mary Johnson, who has been an employee of the Breckenridge Nordic Center for 15 years. “I like the fact that people will dress up; they get into the spirit of things.”

Local doctor Craig Louis Perrinjaquet, known around town as Doc PJ, is a frequent participant and fundraiser for the Breckebeiner. The atmosphere is “kind of whatever you want it to be. You can get in your zone and just crank out 60K, or you can have hot cocoa and donuts and dress up and party with your friends,” he said. “It’s good for your health — exercise and fun and good mojo.”

Organizers hope the event will match, if not exceed, last year’s fundraising amount.

“Last year we broke the record of $30,000 so it would be awesome to hit that again,” said BOEC development director Marci Sloan.

Whether coming as an individual or a team, fully costumed in wacky wig and cape or just normal clothes, whether local or just visiting, everyone is encouraged to attend the event.

“As people are skiing around there’s always entertainment and it’s very festive,” Therese Dayton said. “It’s really something to look forward to.”

Summit Daily News, March 16, 2015

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