Avalanche Canada Awards 2022 Polaris PRO RMK ‘Braap It UP!’ Fundraiser Grand Prize
The lucky winners of the brand-new Polaris PRO RMK mountain sled are Chris Acres and his wife, Jessica Locke, from Sturgeon County, just northwest of Edmonton, AB.
The winning couple first became aware of the fundraiser when they saw a post about it on Facebook and decided to buy some tickets. Together, Chris and Jessica purchased 14 of the nearly 1,000 tickets ultimately sold by the deadline of the online fundraiser.
When Chris, whose name was on the ticket, received the call from Avalanche Canada to let him know he’d won the sled, he didn’t answer because he didn’t recognize the caller number. Fortunately, Jessica received a notification email shortly after, and let Chris know he should definitely call them back.
“You always think there’s a chance, but you never expect to win,” said Acres.
“And I remember saying, ‘Hey, that draw is on [October] 31st, so we better pay attention. And then I totally forgot about it when they called,'” he chuckled.
Chris and Jessica are experienced riders, having ridden mountain sleds throughout Interior British Columbia in places such as Revelstoke, McBride and Golden. While the couple calls Alberta home, they did purchase a second home in Valemount a few years ago and as a result do most of their riding there now. They typically are able to ride 3-4 days a month from the start of winter all the way through to late spring.
Avalanche Canada Foundation Braap It UP! Fundraiser
The goal of the Braap It UP! Fundraiser in this, its first year, was to connect with and attract the interest of the snowmobiling community. In the past, Avalanche Canada fundraising campaigns had been primarily geared towards the ski and snowboard communities.
Avalanche Canada had at first hoped to promote the fundraiser at the sled shows this year, but unfortunately those were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it seems the draw of a new sled was enough to make the fundraiser a success. With the assistance of Polaris, Avalanche Canada was able to offer a 2022 Polaris PRO RMK AXYS 163″ x 3″ model as the grand prize. An early-bird prize of an AST course enrolment for several people was won by Scott Hills of Morinville, AB. There was also a silent auction featuring around 30 items in total.
Braap It UP! Fundraiser a Success
While Braap It UP! fell short of the goal of $100,000, the fundraiser was still considered to be a success having raised just over $60,000 in total—making it Avalanche Canada Foundation’s most successful fundraiser to date.
“Overall it’s been a fantastic event for us and worthwhile, and we’ll do it again,” said Avalanche Canada Executive Director, Gilles Valade.
“We’ve replaced all our live events now with online fundraising, because of COVID. It’s worked quite well for us. Because this was the first one [specifically for snowmobilers] we weren’t sure how it was going to go, but we’re quite happy,” he added.
“We’re hoping to do more, especially for the snowmobile community. The challenge this year is securing items for auction or prizing because the supply is limited. Next year we’ll start early, but we’re still planning on doing a couple of fundraisers—we need the funds, so that will continue,” said Valade.
Valade emphasized that Avalanche Canada is thankful to all the businesses and organizations involved in the donation of prizes for this fundraiser and others.
For Avalanche Canada staff, a downside of the Braap It UP! fundraiser is that they themselves were not allowed to participate in the grand prize draw.
“Unfortunately we [at Avalanche Canada] couldn’t buy tickets, because everybody wanted that sled!” said Valade.
Polaris and Avalanche Canada Partnership
The sled giveaway is part of a long-standing partnership between Polaris and Avalanche Canada.
“We’ve been partnering with Polaris for probably 12-15 years now. Part of our fleet is Polaris sleds, and we get a loaner from them each year,” said Valade.
For the delivery of the grand prize at Mountain Motorsports in Golden, BC, Polaris District Manager for Southern Alberta and Southeastern BC, Steven Bowes, was also on hand.
“We’re pleased with the partnership we have with Avalanche Canada—they give us the opportunity to be safe in the backcountry, to make the right decisions and give us the information we need to be out there. We’re safe because of the work they do. So we’re just really pleased and honoured to be partnering with Avalanche Canada on this giveaway,” said Bowes.
“And we’re pumped that some real enthusiasts have won the sled!” he added.
The money raised from the ‘Braap It UP!’ fundraiser will support public avalanche safety, including Avalanche Canada’s outreach and education programs such as webinars, educational videos and online education.