Take a Vertical Challenge to Cure Arthritis | Blue Sky Cup

Take a Vertical Challenge to Cure Arthritis | Blue Sky Cup

February 2015, VAIL, CO – On February 26th, the fifth annual Blue Sky Cup will take place in Vail, CO, challenging skiers to push themselves while raising funds and awareness for rheumatoid arthritis. Proceeds from the Blue Sky Cup will go to the Arthritis National Research Foundation to fund rheumatoid arthritis research.

Colorado residents Jim Nollsch and Hayden Fisher founded the Blue Sky Cup five years ago as an event for friends. Two years ago they added a charity component, as it is an amazing venue to bring together athletes for a greater purpose.

Jim Nollsch (left) with Hayden Fisher (right) and the Blue Sky Cup

Nollsch is a lifelong skier and also struggles with pain from his rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Not only is he affected by this life altering autoimmune disease, but his father and his grandmother (since deceased) are also afflicted with RA. With a deep personal connection to rheumatoid arthritis, Nollsch and Fisher decided it was time to take the Blue Sky Cup to the next level and support arthritis research.

Jim Nollsch and his father at the Blue Sky Cup 2015

An all day skiing event, the Blue Sky Cup is awarded to the team that logs the most vertical feet in a single day while accomplishing various tasks around the mountain, including a run through Vail’s Epic Race course. Tracking their efforts with the EpicMix app, competitors ski hard all day to log as many vertical feet as they can as a team, trying to break the event record of 55,743 feet in one day!

“We started the event to be a celebration of skiing, and while it has some competitive elements, we wanted to focus on creating a great day spent with great friends,” Nollsch explained. “As we gained momentum, we felt we could build support for a cause that is important to the founders, rheumatoid arthritis.”

Blue Sky Cup group photo 2015

Nollsch was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2009 and thanks to more efficient treatments that resulted from research; he has achieved a medical remission. He understands, however, that many arthritis sufferers are not as fortunate and that his own RA could become more aggressive again at any time. Until then, he’s vowed to keep participating in activities that he is passionate about and also give back to the arthritis community in a charitable way. His goal and the goal of the Blue Sky Cup is to support arthritis research so that new treatments and ultimately a cure can be found.

All skiers and snowboarders are welcomed and interested participants are encouraged to visit www.blueskycup.ski to watch the event video and for a link to sign up!

Derek Belisle, Marketing Director
Arthritis National Research Foundation
derek@curearthritis.org | 562.437.6808

Article Author
Arthritis National Research Foundation

The Arthritis National Research Foundation's mission is to provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Writing articles about the patients affected and the science being done to find a cure shows why we need to come together to #CureArthritis!

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