January 12, 2004
It was meant to be a day of downhill fun for Cadillac resident Dale Hardy but it turned out to be a life-altering experience that has kept him glued to the slopes.
In 1987, Hardy attended the Jimmie Huega Snow Express event at Boyne Mountain at the urging of friends. During the afternoon free ski, Hardy skied with Huega, the 1964 bronze medalist, and learned a newfound respect for what Huega was trying to accomplish fighting Multiple Sclerosis.
On Jan. 19, Hardy will take part in his 17th event and will serve as director for the 13th straight year.
"Jimmie is just amazing when you talk to him and because of my experience with him, that is why I got involved," Hardy said. "I have been out to the international finals in Vail every year and I have been involved with the event as either a top fund raiser or event volunteer."
Each team raises more than $1,000 to enter the event, which was started in 1984, and will try to accumulate as many points on the slopes as possible - coupled with their fundraising efforts. The team with the most points wins an all-expenses paid trip to Vail, Colo. for the international finals.
In the event's early days skiers would try to ski as many vertical feet as possible in a race against the clock, but in recent years the event has changed and allows skiers to choose various events.
Skiers may take part in a dual giant slalom race, skiing marathon or a poker run, but it is not the events that Hardy focuses on when he participates.
"The biggest thing for me at the event is meeting people and helping people with MS use Jimmie's can-do approach to life," Hardy said.
Also participating in the event are Stacy and Brian Cooper of Cadillac
and a team from Western Concrete.
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