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Fourth annual Commuter Challenge returns

Help fight climate change, and snag a chance at a free season pass

Four years and still going, the Whistler Way Commuter Challenge dares you to help drop annual emissions by choosing an earth-friendly mode of transportation.

Participants with 40 points or over are entered in the grand prize draw, for either a Whistler-Blackcomb season pass, or a Meadow Park Sports Centre annual family pass. As well, you can win an annual WaveCard valid on all Wave buses.

The Challenge starts Thursday, Sept. 22 and goes until Wednesday, Oct. 5. "We are hoping to top last year, 778 people participated. We are hoping for 1,000 participants this time," said Marc Zurbuchen, One-Tonne Challenge co-ordinator.

The Commuter Challenge is open to all Whistler residents, employees and businesses. Each day participants record how many kilometres they travel to and from work. Points will be given according to the mode of transport taken. Four points for walking, cycling, busing, or car pooling with three or more passengers. Two points are given for car pooling with two people, and zero points are awarded for driving yourself. Participants can earn a maximum of 80 points, which earns two entries into the grand prize draw. A minimum of 40 points qualifies for one chance at the prize.

"It’s easy to do. The only way you won’t get points is if you drive to and from work by yourself for the entire two weeks," says Zurbuchen.

A few twists have been added to the Challenge this year. Mini events will take place throughout the different neighborhoods. Employees in the area can compete for prizes during breaks. As well, the One-Tonne Commuter Challenge asks participants to fill out a prize ballot printed in the local papers. The ballot asks how you plan to reduce greenhouse emissions; tips will be aired on Mountain FM and printed in both papers. The lucky winner will ride off with a new 2005 Kona bike, a good way to get around town and lower emissions.

Over 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are released into the environment through driving. "Sustainable commuting is easy, fun, and a healthy way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions and take part in the One-Tonne Challenge," says Zurbuchen.

To take part in the Whistler Way Commuter Challenge, contact Zurbuchen, 604-935-8456 or , and register yourself or your business. If you register before Sept. 22, free tickets will be provided to the annual pancake breakfast kickoff at the Town Plaza gazebo.

"We are excited about the upcoming events, and hope people have fun trying sustainable transportation," says Zurbuchen.