Slopes for Hope gears up for fourth run

Cancer Society puts new twist on Relay for Life

The fight against cancer is reaching new heights with the fourth-annual Slopes for Hope challenge.

The Canadian Cancer Society is inviting snowboarders, alpine and Nordic skiers to take part in the Red Mountain Resort and Black Jack Ski Club event Feb. 21. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to sign up individually or as a team and start raising funds for the skiathlon that has participants attempting to ski or board the vertical height of Mount Everest, 29, 029 feet, in one day.

Alpine skiers can achieve this, for instance, with about 21 runs on Red Mountain or 13 runs on Motherlode. The Everest trek, for Nordic skiers, is a 10-kilometre challenge at Black Jack via Gibbards Trail and Aqueduct-Roger’s Route.

Last year’s event raised just over $19,000 and this year’s goal has lifted the bar to $25,000.

“This is a great event and a wonderful way for the ski community to get involved in the fight against cancer,” said Allison McCarthy, annual giving coordinator for B.C. and the Yukon.

About half of all cancers can be prevented, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Skiing and snowboarding are great ways to stay active during the winter months,” McCarthy adds. “It is a great way to get our cancer prevention message out to the community, raise funds to support our mission and have fun.”

Money raised will help the Canadian Cancer Society fund cancer research, cancer prevention initiatives and support services such as the wig bank at the Trail office and affordable lodging near treatment centres in Kelowna and Vancouver.

All participants who raise $100 or more will receive a half price lift ticket at Red or free day pass at Black Jack. An apres celebration will draw the day to a close with entertainment and prizes like the coveted “Golden Boot Trophy” given to the team that achieves the most vertical feet and raises top funds.

“With this amazing snow we’ve been having this year it’s not going to be a hard thing to ask of people,” added McCarthy. “With all of this fresh powder we’ve been getting, I think it’s a great tie-in for people to get out there and ski and be a part of something that’s important.”

The same event will be held at other ski hills this winter, with Whitewater holding its fundraiser on March 5, in which the Nelson Nordic Ski Club is running an Everest trek option for the first time.

Local participants can register online at slopesforhope.ca by selecting “Red Mountain” and start gathering financial backing for their efforts. Registration has also opened up for Trail’s first Daffodil Dash, which is replacing the Relay for Life event that had 15 successful years in Trail.

“As they say, all good things must come to an end, and with that sentiment in mind the society decided to launch a new event,” explained McCarthy.

The Daffodil Dash is scheduled for April 24 at Gyro Park. The family-friendly event from 9 a.m. until about noon is designed for runners or walkers of all fitness levels, including children. The dash is comprised of a 3 km walk or 5 and 10 km run and also includes a 100-meter dash for the little ones. Just like relay, the event will celebrate cancer survivors and remember those loved ones lost. Individuals and teams will start at Gyro and loop through Sunningdale before returning to the park for some entertainment.

“We are excited to begin a new chapter with this Daffodil Dash event in Trail,” said McCarthy.

“We heard feedback from the community, including our dedicated and passionate volunteers, saw annual declines in participation and felt a need to re-energize the spirit of an event in Trail.”

The dash coincides with the annual April Daffodil Campaign, where the society sells fresh cut daffodils and puts out yellow daffodil pins throughout the community. To sign up for the dash, visit cancer.ca/daffodildash

To volunteer at Slopes for Hope or the Daffodil Dash, contact McCarthy at 250-364-0403 or via email at amccarthy@bc.cancer.ca