Team Atlas to ski 28 California resorts |

Team Atlas to ski 28 California resorts

Courtesy photo/Sierra SunAcross the Atlas members Kelly Myers of San Francisco and Pietro Simonetti of Boulder, Colo., pose with a skier from the National Sports Center with the Disabled at Eldora Ski Resort near Boulder in 2002 when the group skied all of Colorado's resorts in four days.

A group of Colorado skiers and snowboarders are setting out today to conquer all of the California ski resorts ” and raising money for disabled athletes along the way.

Dubbed Across the Atlas, the eight-person team will embark on an expedition to ski all 28 resorts in the Golden State, top to bottom, in less than four days.

Team Atlas members will start their quest at 2 p.m. today at Mt. Shasta, and won’t rest until they reach the bottom of Sierra at Tahoe tentatively around 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 5.

The skiers, snowboarders, telemarkers and one snow-biker plan to ski Lake Tahoe-area resorts beginning at 5 a.m. Wednesday at Homewood, then follow a counterclockwise route to Granlibakken, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley and other Tahoe resorts.

If they complete the task, the team will set a Guinness world record ” one that will join the record Across the Atlas set in 2002 when team members skied all 28 resorts in Colorado in less than four days.

“A friend of mine and I were kind of going over a map in Colorado,” said Pietro Simonetti, Atlas’ team leader, on the group’s first world record. “Seeing how many resorts we had skied combined, and how many there were total.”

After assessing the map, the team decided to go all the way and ski all of the resorts in four days, said Simonetti, who lives in Boulder, Colo..

“We don’t have much vacation [time] back there,” he joked.

In the meantime, the group’s adventure raised $10,000 for charity.

Besides skiing 28 resorts in four days, Across the Atlas trekked across Morocco, Africa, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Kenya. And besides taking on such adventures, the team has raised over $25,000, through equipment sales, company and private donations, for such organizations as the National Sports Center for the Disabled, the Colorado Cancer Foundation and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“We have a lot of private donors [who] like the idea of what we’re doing,” Simonetti said.

The team intends to raise another $10,000 this week for Disabled Sports USA Far West. The money would support two of Disabled Sports’ athletes, who are aiming to compete in the 2010 Paralympic games in Vancouver, Canada.

Disabled Sports skiers Mickey Kay, 23, and Sarah Marks, 18, have developed an interest in competitive skiing, said Matt Strugar-Fritsch, spokesperson for Disabled Sports. The two were named to be the beneficiaries for the donation.

To support Across the Atlas, Disabled Sports participants will ride with the team at several resorts, including Sugar Bowl, Northstar, Heavenly and Sierra At Tahoe.

“[The ski quest] is more of a logistical challenge then an endurance event,” Strugar-Fritsch said. “Trying to get all across the state and ski all the resorts in four days.”

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