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Telus Winter Classic raises record funds

$190,000 to benefit non-profits

By Andrew Mitchell

The 2007 Telus Winter Classic broke all previous fundraising records, raising $190,000 for the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.

The events sold out weeks in advance, including 700 tickets for the annual gala dinner and auction in the Roundhouse Lodge. This year the event was billed as the Cirque des Montagnes Gala, and featured performers from the Underground Circus, a performance by local singer Ali Milner, a casino, and an artists showcase as well as the usual dinner, drinks and live music.

Other events this past weekend included ski and snowboard days with local pros like Ross Rebagliati and Darren Chalmers, and the Explorer Challenge which included giant slalom and ski bike courses, and tracked teams’ vertical and times as they headed to checkpoints around the mountains.

The $190,000 tally on the weekend surpassed last year’s record of $155,000.

According to Mei McCurdy, the executive director of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, there are several reasons for this year’s record. New corporate sponsorships helped, as did the additional $20,000 raised from the gala auctions.

“We always try to have an auction item that follows a theme, and this year the theme was the Circus so we had a round-trip to Las Vegas for four with luxury accommodation and tickets to see the Cirque de Soleil performance of Ka,” she said. “There were tickets to see Eric Clapton that were quite popular. Restaurants like Araxi and the Bear Foot Bistro also came up big, offering dinner for 10 and things like that. Andre (St. Jacques) of the Bear Foot offered space at a winemaker’s dinner during Cornucopia next year and tickets to the Masquerave.

“Items like that were very popular, and people were very generous this year.”

The fact that events sold out completely also helped to set a new record for funds raised.

Sea to Sky non-profit organizations are invited to apply for funding from the Foundation before April 1, 2007. Applications are available online at , or by calling 604-938-7321.