Snowarama Helps Easter Seals Kids
By Scott A. Sumner
This years Thunder Bay Easter Seals Snowarama had a new venue which proved to big a big hit with area snowmobilers. After several years with low snow conditions, and trails that didn't open, the event was moved to the Grand Portage Lodge and Casino and their trail system. Lots of snow and the excitement of the overall event with poker run, trail side lunch, spaghetti dinner as well as a dance featuring Daylin James made the event well attended and a huge success for Easter Seals as well as Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, who wanted to showcase their trails and what they have to offer snowmobilers.
This year 76 riders participated and $ 22,000 was raised for Easter Seals kids in Thunder Bay. There were 66 riders from Canada and 13 from the US. An early registration took place on Friday evening from 7 to 9pm and then the day of the event, Saturday February 21 at 8am. The Grand Portage Lodge & Casino was sold out with 90 rooms booked, the majority with snowmobilers. The event was fantastic! It's a win win situation for Easter Seals and Grand Portage, smiled Diana Sustawenko, Area Manger for Easter Seals in Thunder Bay.
The trails were well groomed and very pretty with lots of different terrain, elevations and some spectacular views of Lake Superior in the backdrop. The trail leads to Rydens store where gas and food were readily available. Also on the trail was the trail centre rest stop where a large fire and hot dogs, pop, chips and chocolate bars were served. The whole route was well marked and made for a very enjoyable ride of about 70 miles. The event as always, was very well organized and made for a great weekend for participants many who stayed at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino with a special room rate of $49.95. They got to use all the facilities of Grand Portage including the casino! We need our local trails association to do their utmost to get a trail approved from Thunder Bay to the border where you can hook up with the Grand Portage trail system and the Minnesota trail system. There is no trail fee on the Grand Portage system and the Minnesota annual trail permit is $16.00. If we could create this trail connection it would provide a great ride for Thunder Bay based snowmobilers, on a day basis or overnight. Also the tourism potential for US riders to continue on past Grand Marais would be HUGE! This is something we all have to work on and the Easter Seals Snowarama event has provided a good start, attracting 66 riders from Canada.
The big winner was Easter Seals Kids in Thunder Bay. This years event is my fourth involved - with 2001 raising $20,000 - 2002 raising $25,000, -2003 raising $8000 and -2004 $22,000 for a four year total of $75,000 That's something to be proud of for the hardworking Easter Seals District Council and other volunteers, especially when it went from a start in immediately previous years of $0. Be sure to watch for next years event which will once again be held at Grand Portage. You will have a fun weekend and help in a great cause.