Snowmobilers ride for charity
Pemberton riders seeking your pledges
By Chris Woodall
The 20th annual Snowarama snowmobile fund-raiser kicks off Feb. 8-14 to earn money for B.C.'s children with disabilities.
Last year's effort brought in $132,000, bringing to $2.5 million the amount raised for the province's Lions Clubs who operate a number of camps such as the Easter Seals Camp in Squamish.
"We have a strong tradition of giving in our community," says Dave Ward, a member of the Pemberton Snowmobile Club and zone chairman for the Snowarama campaign.
Two Pemberton snowmobilers — Ken Archer and Bryce Ronayne — are linking with a team of 15 riders for the B.C. leg of the trans-Canada Powerstreak ’98 snowmobile ride.
The B.C. portion of the 45-day trip from Newfoundland starts at Dawson Creek Feb. 8, finishing Feb. 15 in Squamish, via Kamloops and Vancouver.
Donors simply make a pledge to see the riders do the trip. A minimum $20 donation will enter the donor into a draw for a sled-full of prizes, including a trip for four to Disneyland.
Local snowmobile clubs all over the province will have their own fund-raisers to add to the total raised for the Lions Society.
When the Powerstreak ride winds up, Ward says Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin may join in for the final run along Brohm Ridge.
Tobin is an avid snowmobiler who rode the first leg of the trip across his province, accompanied with some of his cabinet ministers. En route, Tobin announced a $5.8 million program to build infrastructure and trails to promote snowmobiling.
"We're hoping to get our premier, Glen Clark, to attend the final day, too," Ward says.
The ride across Canada takes the participating snowmobilers on trails used and maintained by various snowmobile clubs. The effect is to find a national trail that links them together.
"The whole focus of the national ride is to promote snowmobiling as a family-oriented sport," Ward says.
"B.C. is very underdeveloped when it comes to snowmobiling, compared to Ontario and Quebec," Ward says. "They have tens of thousands of kilometres of trails that are regulated and cared for by snowmobile clubs or the provincial governments."
Snowmobilers aren't pikers when it comes to spending, statistics provided by Ward say. There are nearly a half-million "family snowmobilers" who spend $2 billion toward their winter activity while using 128,034 km of organized snowmobile trails.
"Snowmobilers have deep pockets," Ward says of the trucks they drive to haul their snow machines to trail heads, of the hotels they stay in and the restaurants they visit.
"When they come through Whistler, they don't stay in no cabin and eat granola," Ward says.
Some of the best snowmobiling available right now is between Whistler and Pemberton, Ward says. "Going from Pemberton and over the 500-square-mile Pemberton Ice Cap to Whistler is a whole day: it's just a wonderful ride."