24 Hours for Hank set to return to Schweitzer

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(Courtesy photo) Race participant Scott Henrey, right, gets a medal from Henry Sturgis during the 2,400 Feet of Schweitzer event in 2018. Registration is now open for the March 23 fundraiser event, deciated to raising money to fight cystinosis.

SANDPOINT — Registration is now open for 2,400 Feet of Schweitzer.

The March 23 event is skiers’, snowboarders’ and telemarkers’ only chance to ski a giant slalom course starting at Sky House on Schweitzer’s summit. Teams will ski and ride for prizes, bragging rights and most importantly, fundraising for cystinosis research and Hank’s future, according to a press release from Schweitzer Mountain Resort officials.

24 Hours for Hank introduced 2,400 Feet of Schweitzer in 2018 after eight years of hosting the popular 24 Hours of Schweitzer, all day/all night ski challenge. The new format was a great success — it was challenging, rewarding, fun for all participants, and a huge fundraising success! This will be the eleventh year that 24 Hours for Hank has had a fundraiser held in honor of 12-year-old Hank Sturgis of Sandpoint and others suffering from the rare, fatal disease cystinosis.

2,400 Feet of Schweitzer is a unique sunrise top to bottom giant slalom event beginning at the Sky House lodge at the summit of Schweitzer and finishing at The Outback at the base of the mountain — 2,400 vertical feet and nearly 2 1/2 miles of skiing — creating the longest giant slalom race in the country.

The race is open to all ability levels in all disciplines — alpine, telemark and snowboarding. The unique format of the race will allow for passing even though the run is timed. For 2019, there will be a second, shorter race that will start just below the top of the Stella Chair lift. Combined times for both runs will determine the winners.

Seeding for the race will also be unique as participant fundraising efforts will determine which seed they will start in (i.e., the top 10 fundraisers will start in the first 10, etc.) Seeds will be sorted randomly based on skiing ability to limit the amount of passing that will occur on course.

Although there will be teams of two or four people, fundraising will be tracked at the individual level and will only count toward that individuals start seed. After the second run, participants will enjoy a barbecue at the Lakeview Lodge followed by awards.

The event welcomes young and old, casual or serious participants, and there are many ways to get involved — start a team, join a team. Those that don’t ski or board can pledge a participant, volunteer at the event, or attend the awards dinner/auction, officials said in the press release.

Awards will recognize top teams/participants in different age categories, as well as youngest and oldest participants, and top fundraisers.

Following the ski event on Saturday night is an auction/awards party in Schweitzer’s Lakeview lodge. The auction, which is open to the public, is expected to feature more than 100 live and silent auction items, as well as an amazing dinner. Auction tickets are $45 and available at 24hoursforhank.org. The after-party, featuring live music from the RUB, will be held from 9 p.m. to midnight at Taps in Schweitzer’s Lakeview lodge.

The event benefits 24 Hours for Hank, a Sandpoint foundation established to raise money for cystinosis research and treatment. Funds raised locally are contributed to the national Cystinosis Research Foundation to help find a cure for this extremely rare, genetic disease that slowly destroys every organ in the body including the kidneys, liver, eyes, muscles, thyroid and brain. Cystinosis affects just 500 people (mainly children) nationwide.

For more information on the event and auction, or to register, volunteer or donate an auction item, visit 24hoursforhank.org or call 208-610-2131.

Major sponsors of the cystinosis fundraiser include Schweitzer Mountain Resort, TraskBritt, Kochava, Litehouse, SimulStat, EzyDog, The Alpine Shop, and Centennial Distribution.

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