Celtic and jazz fundraising score 

Concerts from Shona Le Mottee and Ali Milner help raise funds for new WASP Learn to Race program

By Nicole Fitzgerald

Fiddling virtuoso Shona Le Mottee and her Irish dancers as well as EMI recording artist and Whistler resident Ali Milner offer night and day concerts for the Telus Mountain Valley Golf Classic Tournament Friday, Sept. 22.

Milner stretches out the a.m. hours with jazz croonings hot off her newly released album during tournament registration at the Nicklaus North Golf Course. Le Mottee takes over with Celtic veracity at the tournament’s dinner and auction fundraising event at the Aubergine Grille in the Westin Resort.

The annual Whistler Blackcomb Foundation tournament raises funds for a different organization every year. Last year, the Arts and Culture Legacy Fund benefited from the event, which raised $40,000 for the cause.

This year the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP) was elected as the main beneficiary, an organization dedicated to introducing disabled people to adaptive skiing and snowboarding.

Last year, the non-profit team of more than 70 volunteers, along with a handful of staff instructors and administrators, facilitated 550 ski/snowboard lessons for sports enthusiasts from around the world.

Chelsea Walker, WASP executive director, said funds raised this year will contribute to a new Learn to Race program.

Until now, there was no intermediate step between Learn to Ski/Snowboard programs and joining the provincial disabled ski team.

“We’ve partnered with the Disabled Skiers Association of B.C. and Vancouver Adaptive Snow Sports to share a coach between us, working three days a week,” Walker explained. “We hope to create a wider pool of individuals feeding into competitive racing and build an even better B.C. and Canadian disabled ski team.”

The local organization will also focus on the ScotiaBank Learn to Ride program. This year adaptive snowboarding was included under the umbrella of the Canadian Snowboard Association, representing both able-bodied and disabled athletes — unlike skiing, which is divided under an able-bodied and adaptive association.

“Now we are all moving towards inclusiveness, rather than a separate body for disabled riders,” Walker said. “There is no separation. It is a huge step forward.”

There will be high stepping at the fundraiser with up tempo performers such as Full Circle and Exile Erin moving at the speed of a freight train under the bow of Juno-Award winning fiddler Le Mottee. The former Paperboy fiddler and Micheal Flatley’s Lord of the Dance musician was part of the 2006 Torino Winter Olympic celebrations in Whistler earlier this year.

Milner needs no introductions. The Whistler local recently released her self-titled debut album on the Venus record label distributed by EMI. For the first time in Whistler, her album will be available for sale at the tournament, with partial proceeds benefiting the cause.

Visit myspace.com and enter “Ali Milner” in Friend Search to sample album tracks.

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