Start your engines, the women are ready to roar.
After a hugely successful 2003 campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research, the Way Out Women (WOW) are back in the snowmobile saddle again.
WOW is a group of 81 "Way Out Women" who have been selected to ride snowmobiles across 25 states and all 10 provinces and raise money and awareness for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. The public is invited to join the riders on the trails, attend events along the route and to make donations.
The Polaris 2003 WOW Relay, held in Canada, was an outstanding success, involving over 200 riders and raising $175,514.33.
After finishing their cross-continent tour here in 2003, they're starting from Squamish this year.
This year, the Western Canadian Route will start in Squamish on Sunday, Jan. 26, and will travel through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to meet up with the East Coast team in Winnipeg. From there, the two teams will head south and travel to Roseau, Minnesota together for a celebration and finale of the tour on Feb. 19.
"Squamish is the furthest point west in British Columbia that has snowmobile trails, so it was a natural choice to start the 2004 relay from there," said WOW relay organizer Penny Mahon. "Last year the tour started in Newfoundland and finished in Squamish, but this year, with the inclusion of the states, we decided to have the two teams meet in the middle."
The relay, developed by Polaris Industries, raises funds for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), while encouraging increased female participation in snowmobiling. Four snowmobiles, carrying three designated female riders and one local VIP rider, travel across each province creating awareness and raising funds for breast cancer. The public is invited to join any portion of the relay and to make donations.
To bolster community support, a charity brunch is being held at the Howe Sound Inn & Brew Pub on Sunday (Jan. 25), the day before the relay starts. Volunteers will be selling T-shirts and there will also be door prizes.
Any interested Squamish sledders are invited to join the three ladies along the way. Riders wishing to join the relay (at their own expense), can meet at 8 a.m. on the morning of the relay (Jan. 26), at the Mountain Retreat Hotel and Suites.
"Depending on the conditions and the avalanche forecast, we'll be going from Squamish to Bralorne one way or another."
For more information, contact Penny Mahon at Polaris Industries at (204) 905-7100. Pledge forms for the relay can be found at www.polarisindustries.com/wowrelay.