painting by Anna Emilia annaemilia.com
We are so happy that a quick interview and kicksled demonstration on sloppy late October snow conditions made it on the people's radio clear across the country!
CBC Radio from the Yukon and Manitoba conspired to interview me and some of my dearest kicksled friends (Joc and Doon) about the joys of kicksled commuting! Since the program aired nationally and traveled great distances on social media, I have received inquiries and lovely messages from Canadians near and far, cheering for the Kicksled Revolution.
One exchange was particularly touching and inspiring, and helped me imagine how the Kicksled Revolution could evolve into a social enterprise. Dammy Damstrom-Albach allowed me to share her letters with you:
I got very excited when I heard about what you are doing via a program on the CBC.
When I was a girl I lived in a tiny village in southeastern BC called Jaffray. It was full of Swedes – mostly my relatives – and many people had what we then called a 'kicker'.
We used to take them to school and back all winter long on the unsanded and very icy winter roads. The narrow steel runners were not all that great in the snow but on ice – a creek, a lake or a frozen side road – you could really fly. Used to put my little brother on the seat for ballast going downhill – so much fun.
I am not sure where I would ever be able to go kickering now as I live on the perpetually soggy west coast, but it does my heart good to know you are bringing these to Canada. Perhaps I will just have to figure out a way to come to Whitehorse!
I wish you the greatest success with your business.
With Best Regards, Dammy Damstrom-Albach
Her message of course made my day, so I responded:
Hello Dammy, Thank you so very much for your lovely message about "kickering"!
The Finnish kicksleds that I imported have plastic runners that fit on the steel runners to make it easier to kick on hard packed snow trails and roads, not just bare ice. I have heard that in Scandinavia, people actually sharpen the steel runners like skates so that they can fly on frozen lakes!
I am hoping to get kicksleds at the winter tourism operators up here so that visitors can quietly kick along while gazing in awe at the aurora borealis... Let me know when you come to Whitehorse in winter and I'll make sure there is a kicksled here to meet you!
I see that you work in the field of mental health and suicide prevention. I truly see the kicksled as a tool to help promote happiness in winter in Canada's north - it sure makes our long, dark and cold winters more enjoyable for me.
I hope to someday expand this sole proprietorship into a social enterprise, so there may be ways to be involved with the Kicksled Revolution even from the soggy west coast! I would love to help bring kicksleds to all northern Canadian communities as part of suicide prevention strategies (maybe that sounds like a stretch, but I honestly believe that kicksleds are eco-friendly transportation and recreation vehicles of pure joy).
To do that, I may seek support from all Canadians to help make the tricky shipping happen. Who knows? Please stay tuned to see how the kicksled revolution movement grows! Again, many thanks for your lovely email. Can I share it with my facebook community? https://www.facebook.com/kicksledrevolution/
She wrote back:
Hi again Anne! Please do share. And also if I could ever help with this venture in some way – I have no idea how but who knows – please keep me in mind.
Kickering was one of the very best things about my childhood and truly did make what used to be much longer and colder winters than they are now in the East Kootenays something we anticipated with great glee and even longing. Crazy hey?
I remember my Dad sharpening the runners for us in the late fall and we would hover about like barn swallows chattering about the previous winter's best places and wildest rides and, as time went on, plotting ways to beat the sandtruck so we could go all the way to Big Sand Creek on the long south road!
Anyway please keep me posted on how things evolve for you. I am definitely an advocate and would love to see this catch on!
Thank you for your support, Dammy, and for the beautiful story of Kickering in the Kootenays as a kid!