Annual Snowshoe for the Cure fundraiser returns to Frisco with 3K, 5K and fun run March 5 | SummitDaily.com

Annual Snowshoe for the Cure fundraiser returns to Frisco with 3K, 5K and fun run March 5

This weekend, Laural Von Behren will snowshoe in honor of her mother. And aunt. And friends. And everyone else affected by breast cancer.

On Saturday, Von Behren joins more than 1,000 snowshoers at the Frisco Nordic Center to celebrate Snowshoe for the Cure, formerly known as the Tubbs Romp to Stomp. It's an annual fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and, like dozens of breast cancer fundraisers across the country, everyone at the Nordic center is snowshoeing in honor of loved ones who can't be there in person.

"Every one of us in this group knows somebody affected by breast cancer, if it's a friend or a family member or anyone else," the 60-year-old Van Behren said. "I want to make this a tradition. I have two daughters, I have friends — I just have so many people interested in being part of this."

This year marks her third year at the Snowshoe for the Cure, but her ties to Summit County run much deeper. She's been visiting Colorado since the late '80s, when her parents, Norman and Barbara Anderson, started bringing the entire family to the Rocky Mountains for mid-summer relief from the Florida heat. The family bought property on Lake Dillon in 1996 — the same year Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer — and finished building a home there in 1998.

Van Behren's mother passed away in 1998, just 22 months after she was diagnosed and weeks after the family's home on Lake Dillon was finished. But, it wasn't until 2014 that she heard about Snowshoe for the Cure — and knew she had found a tradition. That first year, she entered the event with a team of three fellow snowshoers, all close friends from Florida who are now bona fide Frisco converts. By 2015, the team — dubbed Anderson's Angels — had grown to 12 participants, and, this season, the team has blossomed to 20 participants.

Like the past two years, just about everyone on the Anderson's Angels team this year stays with her at the Anderson family home on Lake Dillon. They take short ski trips, browse Main Street shops and simply enjoy each other's company before and after the weekend race.

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"This is my third year doing this, and it is the kind of thing I'll be doing every year for as long as I can," she said. "I'll keep inviting more and more people until I can't have everyone at my house."

Celebration on snowshoes

Anderson's Angels is one of several dozen teams registered for the one-day event, along with local groups like Breckenridge Grand Vacations, Vail-Summit Orthopaedics and Alpine Bank.

The weekend kicks off tonight with the town of Frisco Pink Party, held at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco from 5-8 p.m. Runners can meet and mingle with other participants or register for the event on Saturday. Spots are still available, with fees set at $50 for adults or $35 for kids.

The snowshoe races are held Saturday on the trails at the Frisco Nordic Center. There are 3K, 5K and fun run courses for snowshoers of all ages and abilities. Like most races in the High Country, a handful of runners will come out to see just how fast they can tackle the course. But for Van Behren, the event is less about competition and more about a celebration: of life, of good health, of her mother.

"This event is just so much fun," she said. "I'm looking forward to the party and the snowshoeing and everything else. This is just such a fun event."

Unlike other Susan G. Komen events — say, the Race for the Cure in Denver this summer — the Snowshoe for the Cure is more of a low-key community event, with about 1,000 runners as opposed to more than 10,000. But that hardly affects the fundraising: This year, organizers want to raise $50,000, or about the same amount raised last year.

"This is a nice, intimate event," said Kim Dykstra, communications manager with the town of Breckenridge and longtime Snowshoe for the Cure participant. "You're out in nature, so it has a cool vibe to it, something that you don't get at all of these fundraiser events."

She admits she hasn't registered quite yet — good thing participants can register as late as the day of the race — but she plans on snowshoeing again this weekend with her regular crew, Team Kaleidoscope. It's a collection of locals organized by Rae Anderson, and like Van Behren's Anderson's Angels, just about everyone has been impacted by breast cancer.

For Dykstra, the event is incredibly near and dear. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and recently celebrated eight years free of cancer. Her story is one of thousands on the Nordic trails this weekend, and she admits that every year brings a new batch of bittersweet tales: friends who are in remission, friends who are in treatment, friends who have passed away.

"I'm one of the lucky ones," she said. "I recently had a friend who passed from breast cancer this last year, so this just becomes a time for me and others to come together and remember all the people who have been there before, the people who are still living now and the people who might not be (with us) anymore."

Snowshoe for the Cure 2016

What: A single-day breast cancer awareness fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, with 3K, 5K and fun run events for snowshoers of all ages and abilities

When: Saturday, March 5 at 8 a.m.

Where: Frisco Nordic Center, 616 Recreation Way in Frisco

Cost: $45 for adults, $30 for kids

Demo snowshoes are available at the event for free with a bib number. No dogs are allowed. The fun run is free for kids 5 years old and younger. Online registration is available until midnight on Friday. In-person registration fees are $50 for adults and $35 for kids, with registration available at the race and the Pink Party on Friday. The party is held at the Summit County Senior and Community Center (83 Nancy’s Place in Frisco) from 5-8 p.m. For more information about the event, see http://www.colorado.info-komen.org and search for the Snowshoe for the Cure section.

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