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Dual Mountain Rally to benefit adaptive ski program

Event organizer and promoter Tyler Mosher has three things to say about Dual Mountain Rally 2003, scheduled for the evening of Friday, April 4 and all day Saturday.

Event organizer and promoter Tyler Mosher has three things to say about Dual Mountain Rally 2003, scheduled for the evening of Friday, April 4 and all day Saturday.

The first is "fun, fun, fun" – In its seven years, this fundraiser for the B.C. Rehab Foundation has built a reputation as a well-run and thoroughly entertaining event and adventure that takes teams all over Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

The second thing is "great value" – Raising $250 in tax-deductible pledges for B.C. Rehab gets you a dual mountain pass for the day, three meals and an apres party at the Westin, coaching from a sports celebrity or member of the Whistler Freeride Team, and the opportunity to win great prizes. This year’s grand prize is a trip for two to Hawaii to go with this year’s theme, Aloha! That means participants are encouraged to dress Hawaiian, and the best costumes will also be eligible for prizes.

The third thing to keep in mind is that it’s all for a "great cause" – B.C. Rehab contributes more than $1 million a year to programs that improve the quality of life for people with physical disabilities, and proceeds from this year’s rally will go specifically towards the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program.

The last point is especially important to Mosher, who suffered a spinal cord injury in December of 2000. New treatments and rehabilitative therapies, sponsored by B.C. Rehab and provided by the GF Strong Rehab Centre in Vancouver, helped Mosher to get back on his feet with only partial paralysis of his lower limbs. A few years before, Mosher would have been in a wheelchair.

"This is an exciting time for spinal cord research, and we may be just a few years away from a treatment for spinal cord injuries," says Mosher. "New treatments have been hugely successful – I’m an example of that."

Mosher got back on his snowboard for the first time since the accident at last year’s Dual Mountain Rally, and has been back up a few times this year as he has gotten more involved with the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program (WASP). He helped the group to test a new snowboard for people with disabilities, and a few weeks ago he helped to guide a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy around the mountain.

"It’s really a big deal for people to get back out there. Rehab through sports and leisure is a great way to get back into things," says Mosher.

WASP is having a breakthrough season, expanding its alpine program, forming a partnership with the U.S.-based National Sports Centre for the Disabled, and adding cross-country skiing and snowboarding to the list of activities offered. So far WASP has been at its capacity, and has aided more than 800 physically disabled skiers.

The program wants to expand its capability even further in terms of equipment and volunteers, and wants to put in place a bursary program to help disabled individuals who can’t afford to take advantage of WASP’s programs.

Mosher himself has participated in the Dual Mountain Rally since 1998 when it was called the Backbone Enduro.

"Ironically, I figured if I ever was hurt on the hill, I might need the help of GF Strong," says Mosher. "Let’s face it, Whistler fills that place. The (B.C. Rehab) Foundation is closely interconnected with Whistler, and we’ve always supported these programs.

"It’s just been an exciting year for spinal cord related programs. The (WASP) is growing and developing new partnerships and is hosting a golf fundraiser on May 30 at Nicklaus North, Rick Hansen is holding his first annual Man In Motion events on June. 14, you have a guy like Christopher Reeve moving around again… The future is bright, but we need people’s help now so we can take other steps."

If you are interested in participating in the Dual Mountain Rally 2003, you’ll need a team of four. Each team member must raised $250 in tax-deductible pledges to participate, and entry forms are available from Tyler Mosher at 604-932-9832, or the B.C. Rehab Centre at 604-737-6383. Pledge forms are also available at the B.C. Rehab Foundation Web site at www.bcrehab.com.

If you want to participate and don’t have a team of four, Mosher is collecting names of individuals and will put teams together.

The event kicks off on Friday, April 4, with team check-in between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the Westin Resort and Spa. Teams will be assigned celebrity coaches, and snacks and drinks will be provided while a slack key guitarist provides entertainment.

On Saturday morning, breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., followed by the costume contest at 8 a.m. The rally begins at 8:45 a.m. and runs until the end of the day. Lunch will be served on the mountain, and during the day an elite level coach will be helping teams out with strategy and skill tips.

The teams of four will be given cameras and are required to visit 24 checkpoints on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. Strategy is very important, as you’ll be skiing or riding more than 20,000 vertical feet in a single day – not unreasonable for a full day of skiing, but some teams will be racing to complete the rally first.

The awards Luau, which will include Hawaiian music, dinner and prizes, starts at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the B.C. Rehab Web site at www.bcrehab.com




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