Breckebeiner 60k set for Saturday |

Breckebeiner 60k set for Saturday

Get the bonfire blazing, the burgers sizzling and the accordion tuned up – the and Snowshoe Bash is back for a ninth straight year at the Breckenrdige Nordic Center

The annual event will officially kick off at 7 a.m. Saturday morning, as skiers spin laps around criterion loops at a dizzying pace, all in an effort to raise funds for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.The lighthearted event is open to teams, individuals, skiers and snowshoers with participants either taking up sponsorships or pledging lump or per-kilometer sums to the BOEC’s Tuition Assistance Fund.The BOEC is a nonprofit organization that, for the past 35 years, has provided “life-changing outdoor activities for a diverse population of people with mental and physical disabilities, serious illnesses, injured veterans, youth at risk and other special needs,” according to the event press release. The organization operates out of Breckenridge and Keystone.Many people who participate in the BOEC’s plethora of programs will be on hand at the Nordic center, doing their part in raising funds.A minimum donation of $20 is required to participate, but many will raise substantially more.In an extreme effort a year ago, local outdoor enthusiast and two-time Olympic rower Greg Ruckman skied an astonishing 180 kilometers in a 12-hour period. He took off through the trails at midnight and didn’t wrap up until lunch time.Of course, not all those in attendance are expected to set records – or even finish the actual 60k. Last year, about a dozen skiers trekked the entire distance, while many focused on simply raising money and having a good time.There are multiple courses set up for people of all abilities, ranging from a 6k loop to a 1k children’s track.Really, the event serves as a Breck block party with a purpose, as the constant stream of music from local accordion icon Helmut Fricker makes a fitting backdrop to an event that originally formed as a birthday party.Nine years ago, local Nordic enthusiast Gene Dayton turned 60, and instead of having a big party, he asked all his friends to ski 60k with him, pledging money to the BOEC’s scholarship funds.Years later, the event no longer celebrates Dayton, but rather a cause dear to his heart.”It’s a good time for a great cause,” he told the Daily at last year’s event.

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