PERU - Wild Wings Ski Touring Center was the setting on Jan. 27 for the 13th annual Ski for Heat cross-country skiing and snowshoeing fund-raiser that benefits low-income families in the area with heating fuel assistance.

"The event was successful by all measures and means," said event founder Martha Robertson. "By providing the venue and opportunity for families and individuals to enjoy a day of outdoor activity while helping their neighbors in need, Ski for Heat raised an amazing $25,000 for warming hearts and homes' (the tag line of the event). Since the fund-raiser's inception, the community has pulled together to raise nearly $250,000.

"The success of Ski for Heat is attributable to the generosity of spirit and deed of many individuals and local businesses," continued Robertson. "People like that Ski for Heat provides a fun and easy opportunity for them to help others (at their own comfort level) and to make a difference in our part of Vermont."

Chuck and Tracy Black, owners of Wild Wings, as they have every year, generously donated the use of their beautiful trails (located within the boundaries of the Green Mountain National Forest) to the participants who came to ski and snowshoe.

Wild Wings often has more snow than the surrounding area, and Chuck and Ian Black worked their magic and had the trails in perfect condition.

When participants weren't out on the trails skiing or snowshoeing, they were gathered in the cozy Wild Wings warming hut, sharing good cheer and good will while fueling up on the Blacks' homemade soup, freshly-baked bagels donated by Bagel Works, and homemade desserts. Clark's Quality Foods in Londonderry was again the title sponsor for this year's event.

"Clark's has been supportive of Ski for Heat since our first year, and it is an honor to be associated with such a community-minded business," said Robertson. "The Vermont Country Store was the premium sponsor, and we are thrilled to once more have them take part."

The Manchester Lions Club and Write Solutions were silver sponsors; bronze sponsors were Bromley Mountain, Finn & Stone, Northshire Bookstore, Price Chopper, and VFDA, all long-time friends of Ski for Heat.

The Ski for Heat "season" was kicked off in December with the rocking benefit concert given by Bob Stannard & Friends, underwritten by Tyler Electric, hosted at the Manchester Eagles Club,. All proceeds from both events go directly to the Warmth Program at BROC.