Sandpoint, ID – Schweitzer Mountain didn’t sleep the night of Friday, January 30th. The Selkirk stars laid witness to an order of skiers and snowboarders, braving the bitter-cold, raging winds, weakening knees, and breathless lungs as they trusted in the strength of their hamstrings and their hearts to carry them on a 24-hour odyssey for a cure.
The 24 Hours of Schweitzer ski-a-thon came to a close at 10AM on Saturday, January 31st in the Schweitzer village. After a total of 42 teams consisting of 112 skiers and snowboarders completed 7,183 runs, accumulating nearly 7 million vertical feet, the participants still managed to gather in the village to greet Hank Sturgis, the inspiration behind the ski-a-thon that raised money for Cystinosis research.
The youngest participant was 7-year-old Reed Sandstrom, who contributed an amazing 72 runs. The winner of the event was Sandpoint local, and member of the MickDuff’s team, Matt Gillis, who skied a total of 175 laps with a 157,102 ft vertical.
“I think that everyone involved would agree that this was one of the greatest events they have participated either as a volunteer and racer,” Gillis said. “It was a lot of fun to win, but the real fun came in just being part of the event and getting the chance to contribute to the cause.”
Brian Sturgis, Hanks father who also participated in the event was also thrilled with the outcome.
“The event was a great success,” Sturgis said. “The support that this community shows for children in need is overwhelming.”
Both Gillis and Sturgis felt that Schweitzer did an “amazing job” in coordinating and carrying out the event.
“Everyone involved was great…the lifties were in great spirits all night; the helpers during the dinner were awesome and extremely friendly. I hope this is just the first of many 24 Hours of Schweitzer races!” Gillis said.
Sturgis added, “ We would like to thank Schweitzer Mountain Resort and its event staff, ski patrol, lifties, and mountain operations for doing an outstanding job keeping the mountain open and providing a great dinner on Saturday night! We would also like to thank Coldwater Creek and the rest of our sponsors for making the event possible.”
For more information on Hank, Cystinosis, and how to make a difference, visit 24hoursforhank.org.