BOW VALLEY – Roller-skating through the Rocky Mountains has always been on Rebecca Reaville’s bucket list, and in 2017, she decided to organize an event where she could skate with others while also raising money for the Airdrie & District Victims’ Assistance Society (ADVAS). This year, Skate the Mountains will take place on Sunday (Aug. 11).
“I played roller derby, so I’m big into skating and I wanted to skate from Canmore to Banff,” Reaville said. “I found that quite a few other people in my circle also wanted to do it.”
She said once she began organizing the event, she decided to incorporate a fundraising component.
“We compiled a list of local organizations that…are often looking for funds, and we decided that ADVAS would fit. [It’s] not necessarily the theme of skating – but a lot of roller derby players get into derby because it’s kind of an outlet from home situations,” she said.
In the first year, Reaville said, about 21 skaters participated and around 19 came out last year. Participants pay $25 to register and that money is donated to ADVAS, along with additional money raised through pledges. The skate, according to Reaville, has raised nearly $6,000 in the past two years, and she is hoping to raise another $5,000 this year.
First Student Airdrie will sponsor a bus to transport skaters to and from the event, with pick up locations at Bert Church in Airdrie and Crowfoot C-Train Station in Calgary, Reaville said.
“[There’s] a 45-minute bus ride of getting to know other people because everybody ends up chatting together. It’s a fun atmosphere,” she said.
When the group arrives in Canmore, they begin at the visitor centre where, Reaville said, everyone gathers to review rules and requests from Parks Canada. The group isn’t allowed to travel all at once, she said, so they are sent out in heats of around five to six. Participants have the option of going with their friends as a team, or as individuals for the opportunity to “get to know somebody else.”
The skate can take anywhere from two to three hours to complete, is family-friendly and for most levels of skating, Reaville said, adding her oldest daughter participated in the past two years and this year her middle child will be tagging along. She recommends active kids over the age of 12, who are confident in their skating ability to join the event.
“You don’t have to be like a pro or avid skater in order to accomplish it,” she said. “The path…is a fairly easy challenge for somebody who’s never really done anything like that before, but wants to try something new.”
The more than 20-kilometre trail ends at the Rose and Crown in Banff, where participants can enjoy a beer and burger special, at an additional cost, and listen to a presentation from ADVAS. After the supper, the bus collects the skaters and returns them to their original pick-up locations.
“We would like to see [Skate the Mountains] grow to a full busload – we usually end up with about half of that. If we can get like a full busload of people and just make it a huge day, then that would be absolutely great,” Reaville said. “It’s just fun hanging out with people with similar concepts of enjoyable things like skating, skateboarding or rollerblading.”
For more information or to register, visit skatethemountains.com