Trent Ernst, Editor
Last week, a group of snowmobilers came to Tumbler Ridge.
This is not an unusual occurrence. Riders come on a daily basis in winter.
What was unusual was this group had come from the town of Athabasca, in Alberta. And they rode all the way by snowmobile.
Darcie Downey and Stephanie Schwartz met back in 2006 on the Way Out Women ride, a cross-Canada relay, where the two women participated in the Alberta leg. That ride was to raise money for cancer research, but that ride ended.
So three years ago, the two women decided to do their own ride, calling it Alberta Girls’ Tracks for Cancer.
That year they road from Cold Lake to Fox Creek, raising $35,000 for the cause.
“This year, we decided to ask our dads to join us,” says Downey. “So we changed the name to Tracks for Cancer.”
This year, their goal is to raise $30,000.
Tumbler Ridge marks the end of seven days of riding for the crew, who spent most of their time riding through frigid weather. “This obviously is the coldest day of the ride so far, but it’s been -29 or -30 the whole ride. As long as you dress for it, it’s great. No problem.” says Schwartz on a blue sky day outside the Core Lodge, Tumbler Ridge’s premier riding area.
The group followed the Trans Canada Trail from Athabasca to Fox Creek, but the trail beyond there hasn’t been completed. “We rode the ditches from Fox Creek, and it was amazing,” says Schwartz. “They had lots of snow.”
The two came in from Dawson on Friday, and were joined by a handful of local riders to escort them into town. On Saturday, the plan was to have a Poker Ride to raise money for the two, but with the -30 weather, the poker ride was rescheduled until this weekend. (While the two won’t be in Tumbler Ridge any longer, the funds raised will still go to their cause.”)
This is the third year the pair have done the ride, and they plan on doing the ride “every couple years or so” for the foreseeable future.
“We can take snowmobiling, which is a common denominator for us,” says Schwartz, “and working for a cause, and put those together and do something great.”
“We’ve all been touched by cancer: our friends, our family,” says Downey. “We just want to find a cure for this terrible disease. And being able to use our snowmobiles to do this? It’s an added bonus.”