The third annual Extreme Everest Challenge is in the books.
Skiers and snowboarders from around the province and as far as Connecticut came out to the event in record numbers.
“It was incredible,” Hudson Bay Mountain GM Nancy Treiber said.
“It was wonderful to see the community come together to support such a great cause.”
The Everest Challenge features skiers and snowboarders who attempt to climb up to the top of the Ptarmigan run from the skyline chair and ski or board back down it as many times as they can within a 24 hour period.
This year 82 participants competed as part of teams or by themselves.
Five managed to complete the challenge of finishing 18 runs within the time-frame, while three of the athletes actually did more than 18.
Valhalla Outfiters has been organizing the event since 2009.
Originally, the concept was for skiers and boarders to use the chairlift to complete 18 runs down Ptarmigan in 24 hours, but in 2009, Dave Walters from Valhalla went to Nancy Treiber to ask if Rod could do it by man power alone.
“Initially I said no,” Treiber said. “I thought our insurance company wouldn’t go for it.”
Eventually, Treiber convinced the insurance company and Leighton was on his way.
That year Leighton completed the 18 runs up and down in just over 25 hours.
Six months later, Leighton got into an accident while mountain biking in Whistler and became a quadriplegic.
But the injury hasn’t stopped him. Two years ago he competed again at the Everest Challenge, making it as far as tower two. Last year he made it to tower five and this year, just three years after his accident, he made it all the way to the top.
“It’s so remarkable,” Treiber said.
“He is such a gracious man with such tenacity. He is proving that spinal injury doesn’t stop a person’s life.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Live it!, Love it! Foundation, which helps people suffering from spinal cord injuries to have new experiences their injury might otherwise prevent them from.
“From my perspective and in my role as GM for the mountain (been involved here since inception), this has touched so many individuals in the region and as of this year now in America.
This event seems to compels one to take action on so many fronts,” Treiber said.
“Being one of its kind in Canada and quite possibly the world we know this is special.”
Treiber said she hopes the event will continue to grow.