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Ski bum skiing to support Whistler Community Services Society

Quest for 193-day season underway with emphasis on awareness over fundraising

Long-time resident Shawn Hughes is raising money and awareness of issues related to drug abuse by skiing 193 days in a row.

While sipping from a coffee cup at Creekside, the former carpet cleaner turned safety kayaker and stunt man for the film industry spoke candidly about his own struggles with drug abuse and violence.

He stressed that what he’s up to isn’t really about the skiing or the money.

Hughes plans to ski 193 days in a row, the entire 2012/2011 winter and spring seasons, in a campaign he is calling Ski To Be Free 193. He is asking people in the community to pledge him in his effort and, as of May 5 his money total is over $3,000. His campaign is supported by Claire Mozes, and her team at Whistler Community Services Society.

At 100 days in a row of skiing he decided to launch the initiative.

The most important thing, he said, is to make a difference for people who are struggling with addiction or domestic abuse.

He said that for him, the power of addiction is as strong as nature, as powerful as the mountains and rivers around us or the most powerful tides and winter storms. “I almost pulled a Whitney too,” said Hughes in reference to the recent death of singer Whitney Houston and a recent close call of his own.

“If one kid gets some sort of direction then it is all worth it,” said Hughes. “It’s not about skiing 193. Physically at this age that is a bit of a mission, but whatever, it is a small price to pay.”

Hughes said his most inspirational donation so far has come from the servers at the Creekside Starbucks, who donated one-week worth of tips. The total donation from the servers was $195, he said.

“I just know this is the right thing to do,” said Hughes.

His strategy is to ask for small direct donations in the next few weeks and go for the big requests in the final days of the season.

Hughes said anyone who wants to make a donation should send a text message to him at 604-938-4053. Lorna Van Straaten of Whistler Community Services said her office is collecting donations for the initiative also and tax receipts will be offered to anyone who donates $25 or more.