The West Kootenay Take a Hike program will hold its second annual Moonlight Snowshoe & Fatbike Quest fundraiser at Red Mountain Resort on Feb. 8. Last year the program raised $6,000 with the event. (Submitted)

Go on a snowshoe quest with Take a Hike

An alternative education program invites area residents to its moonlight snowshoe fundraiser.

An alternative education program invites West Kootenay residents to its second-annual moonlight snowshoe fundraiser.

The West Kootenay Take a Hike Program will hold its Moonlight Snowshoe & Fatbike Quest at Red Mountain Resort on Thursday, Feb. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m.

The program first held a snowshoe fundraiser last year, though the Vancouver chapter has been running a similar fundraiser for 12 years now. Karen Waldal, West Kootenay community engagement manager, says last year’s fundraiser didn’t raise as much as they’d hoped, so this year they are trying to make it more accessible to everyone.

“We were at about $6,000 last year for the event, which was great for our first-time event. We were really happy with that, but we also knew that the way we did the structuring last year, it made it difficult for some people who would have liked to have come and joined us,” she says. “They weren’t able to because of the price point.”

Last the year the cost was $25, plus each participant was responsible for raising $100. This year the cost is $27 and participants have the option of fundraising.

“If they want a chance at winning some additional prizes then they can become a fundraiser and go get pledges from their friends and family,” says Waldal.

To become a fundraiser, register online at takeahikefoundation.org/events/1st-annual-west-kootenays-moonlight-snowshoe.

Tickets can also be purchased in Castlegar at Cycology Bikes Inc., in Rossland at Kootenay Gateway and Revolution Cycles, and in Trail at Gerick Cycle & Sports.

Anyone wishing to rent a fatbike for the night should buy their ticket at Revolution Cycles and arrange the rental then. Rentals are an additional $10 and bikers are responsible for providing their own helmets.

Whether participants choose to snowshoe or fatbike, they will be accompanied by students from the Take a Hike program on their quest and the students can fill participants in on what the Take a Hike program is and what their experience has been.

“We operate out of the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre campus in Trail, but we serve students from throughout the West Kootenay region, so even students that have come from outside of School District 20,” explains Waldal.

The program is built on four pillars: outdoor recreation, personalized academics, therapy (there is a clinical therapist on staff) and community involvement.

“So at least one day a week our students are out somewhere in the West Kootenay region volunteering for a variety of events or not for profit organizations,” says Waldal.

Take a Hike student and staff will run the quest part of the evening and will be incorporating some of the things they have learned.

“There’ll be clues, there’ll be things you’ll have to find, there’ll be things that your team will have to do in order to successfully complete your quest,” says Waldal.

Participants can choose between snowshoeing or fatbiking, and snowshoers also have the option of two different routes — one that’s more challenging and one that’s easier.

The evening also includes a dinner prepared by Red Mountain Resort’s chef so participants can have something to eat before they head out on their quest.

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