Dressed in full gear, firefighters will take to the slopes at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area today for the seventh annual Fire Hose Race.
Starting at 10:30 a.m. on High Noon Trail, teams of five will race down a slalom-style course while holding a 50-foot fire hose. Participants can either ski or snowboard and each will be decked out in their firefighter jacket and helmet. The event is open to spectators, and the fastest team wins.
"The race is difficult if you are there to win," said former firefighter Chuck Gallagher, who took part in the fire hose race for several years. "One of the key items to discuss with your team prior to the start is how to get rid of the fire hose after the team crosses the finish line; the first year our team neglected that discussion and several crashes commenced at 30 mph plus."
Though you might think the hoses were heavy, Gallagher said that it's not until it gets packed with snow and ice that weight becomes a problem. As far as whether the firefighters gain anything by competing, he said, "To win the traveling trophy and have bragging rights for the next year, you bet."
Proceeds from the event benefit the Children's Hospital Colorado Burn Camps program, which seeks to enrich the lives of young burn victims through outdoor activity, team-building exercises and camaraderie. Founded in 1983, the Burn Camps operate year-round with programs including ski trips, a family focused retreat and an international exchange program for teenagers. The cost per child to attend the camp - including doctors, nurses, occupational and physical therapists - is $1,000, Gallagher said.
Representatives from local Colorado fire companies will be in the base area accepting donations for the Burn Camps program, selling copies of the 2013 Firefighter Calendar and looking for calendar recruits for 2014. Calendars and T-shirts can also be purchased at www.cofirefightercalendar.org, with proceeds benefit the Children's Hospital Burn Center and Burn Camp programs.