Ski pass program to raise money for athletes 

Canadian skiers and boarders buying season passes this winter will be asked for a $5 contribution to support Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the road to 2010.

The pledge program, which is voluntary, is being created by the Canadian Ski Council (CSC).

The CSC represents every alpine ski resort in the country, as well as most cross-country skiing operations, and backcountry heli- and catskiing outfits. In B.C. alone there are more than 30 lift-accessed alpine ski resorts.

The CSC expects to raise approximately $500,000 in each of the next three winter seasons to support Canadian athletes. The money will be distributed through the Canadian Snowsports Association via a series of grants.

In return for a pledge, participants in the program will have a chance to win prizes, such as a free pass at the resort where they are purchasing their seasons pass (optional for participating resorts), a trip for two for the opening of the Peak to Peak Gondola in Whistler in December 2008, and a trip for two to Whistler for the Winter Olympics in 2010.

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