SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Camaraderie and a Cause

The day seemed designed for the event as it dawned clear and bright, the blue skies beckoning to the snowshoeing participants of the Winter Snowshoe Challenge 2004 which took place at Kirkwood Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., on March 5.

The event was sponsored by Clif Bar, Inc., the makers of LUNA, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Altas Snowshoe Co., Snowshoe Magazine, Timbuk2, and ISIS. The pre- and post-parties were hosted by GirlPowder and Melissa Rapp, raising an additional $1,000 for the cause.

With routes that ranged from beginner to advanced, there were four sessions for the snowshoers joining the Breast Cancer Fund in raising money for this event. This money goes to research environmental causes of breast cancer and to provide important education to women of all ages.

Participants paid a registration fee of forty dollars to enter the event, allowing them to enjoy one of the scenic routes set up according to snowshoe ability, Atlas snowshoe rental, a small breakfast, trail map, a snack to keep them going, and lunch. All of this was followed by a fire pit ceremony to honor those who have faced breast cancer and to highlight the work already done by the Breast Cancer Fund on this issue.

Seventy people participated in the Winter Snowshoe Challenge. They came from all walks of life. There were those honoring people with breast cancer, and those who were battling breast cancer themselves. As Sharon of the Breast Cancer Fund stated, “The camaraderie that day was amazing.” And it can give you a whole new perspective on life, and the difficulties people face.

Altogether, the event raised an impressive $30,000 dollars. The top team fundraiser was Team Klondyke, bringing in $3,000 for the cause, and the top individual fundraiser was Eileen Stewart who raised $1,300. Hats off to everyone who participated!

After researching this worthwhile event and speaking with some of the enthusiastic and caring people from the Breast Cancer Fund who were involved with the Winter Snowshoe Challenge, I decided to search out other fundraising opportunities offered to snowshoers throughout the country. Surely such a diverse and nature-loving group as this must have other causes to pursue and celebrate. And I was right. Here is a sampling of what I found.

On the heels of the recent Bush Administration’s advance towards drilling in the Arctic and thus harming that wilderness, the Arctic Action Day could be an important step for those concerned with conservation and preserving this environment. On April 16, the Arctic Action Day will feature simultaneous fundraising events across the nation. All of these will be sponsor-driven activities for individuals and groups and will include snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dogsledding, mountain biking and more depending on the climate of the participants. All donations are tax-deductible and will go towards the Arctic Refuge campaign to support advocacy work across the country. To learn more, go to http://www.cariboucommons.com/arctic_action_day/index.php.

In January of this year, the Avalokiteshvara Buddhist Center held a five-hour snowshoe for inner peace hike through the Rocky Mountain National Park in order to raise $25,000 dollars for a down payment on its center in Denver, Colo. Ten percent of the proceeds were earmarked for the International Temples Project-Building for World Peace.

The American Lung Association offers an annual Snowshoe Early Bird Registration Program, which raises funds for programs aimed at preventing children from becoming addicted to smoking and to improve the quality of life for those with asthma. According to ALA’s Web site, last year’s Early Bird Registration Program had 88 teams participate, raising $178,000 for the program. For more information, visit http://www.grannygear.com/ala.html.

Coming on March 26, on Vail Mountain in Colorado is the Twelfth Annual Snowshoe Shuffle offered by the Woman’s Cancer Coalition. One hundred percent of the net proceeds benefits programs which offer early detection, prevention, and education. The race began in 1994 with only 175 participants. This year, they expect more than 1,000 participants. In fact, it has been named one of the largest snowshoe races in the country, and approximately seventy percent of the participants race in honor someone they know who has faced cancer, while five percent are cancer survivors. If you’d like to get in on this one, hurry to http://www.snowshoeshuffle.com for more information.

These are just a few of the snowhoe fundraising events around our county. There are also the programs like STRIDE, or the Sports and Therapeutic Recreation Instruction/Developmental Education, which offers snowshoeing lessons for challenged children at Brodie Mountain in Massachusetts. The National Sports Center for the Disabled offers snowshoeing classes to children and adults with disabilities at Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort in Colorado. They offer half-day and full-day lessons. Several other mountain resorts offer adaptive ski and snowshoe programs for disabled individuals.

I’ve listed just a few of the many wonderful fundraising or educational snowshoeing programs located throughout our country. Any search on the Internet will most likely bring up many more. You could also call your local mountain resort to learn what events they offer or sponsor.

As always, may the day be clear and bright, and may you snowshoe on with joy in your heart.