What’s Up Yukon declared it early in the New Year on the front page – 2017 Year of the Kicksled Revolution!
It's -37 outside and I'm huddled close to the woodstove in the kicksled shop - reminiscing about all the times that I was moved by the Kicksled Revolution this year!
There were so many special kicksled memories in 2017: lovely kicksled rides with old and new friends through graffiti alleys and sublime landscapes, with my daughter Juniper to the ice fishing holes, magical encounters and inspiring conversations at the Kicksled Revolution HQ – it was hard to narrow it down to ten. But here is my best effort at describing the Best Of outstanding and remarkable kicksled moments and experiences of 2017.
10. Yukon Commissioner Doug Phillips bought a kicksled “for his wife” in the first week of the new year. That was thrilling for me – like the Queen endorsing the Kicksled Revolution! I have heard reports that the Commissioner is out on his wife’s kicksled quite often at McClintock enjoying the ride. He retires this winter, so we thank Mr. Phillips for his years of service to the Yukon and wish him happy trails on the trapline. We encourage him to get a kicksled for himself in 2018, so his wife can enjoy hers and they can kicksled together! Thank you for being a lovely kicksledding Commissioner, and for sharing this photo!
9. Recreation and Parks Association Yukon purchased a fleet of kicksleds in 2016 for its Winter Active For Life program, and the tireless and awesome Jan Downing worked hard in winter/spring 2017 to make sure that every community recreation centre in the Yukon got to borrow them for ice fishing derbies, winter and spring carnivals, other community events, and just to kick around! The well-loved, well-used and frequently transported RPAY kicksled fleet finished their season and found their forever home in Old Crow. We are excited that RPAY bought a new fleet for the lending library in 2017. Thank you so much Jan, RPAY and all the community recreation programmers and directors for bringing the Kicksled Revolution to rural Yukon!
7. Marsh Lake kicksled race! Staff and volunteers at the beautiful Marsh Lake Community Centre organized the first kicksled race in the Yukon ever, and it was so fun to compete with friends! There were kid sprints, moms pushing tots sprints, and the final 1km sprint around Bob Lake. Spirits were high and I look forward to challenging kicksled champion, Southern Lakes MLA (and dear friend of the revolution) John Streicker in 2018!
6. Sourdough Rendezvous Kicksled Grad Challenge. Yukon College staff Kim Sheridan and Kirsti Wallace are champions of the Kicksled Revolution, and it was my pleasure to partner with them on this exciting and hilarious event for Rendezvous! We are hard at work planning for round two in 2018!
5. ElderActive Recreation Association with RPAY. Winter Active For Life program’s Jan Downing coordinated an afternoon of kicksledding with Elder Active at Shipyards Park. A group of us kicksledded around the park, along the riverside trail, then we pushed the kicksleds up the toboggan hill and rode down fast, hooting and hollering. It was like medicine for me, a joyful day kicksledding with (more or less) mature ladies – some of whom have become friends and fellow kicksledders! Thank you Jan and the wonderful ElderActive program for this fun opportunity to be active and have fun together.
3. Santa Land and Festival Lights Tour event at Shipyards Park 2017. Just a few weeks ago, people stood in line for 45 minutes to try out a kicksled! It was baffling because people can come to the shop anytime and kicksled in the rad graffiti alley... Conditions on the ice loop were okay but not ideal that afternoon. Still, it was magical to kicksled among the beautiful Christmas lights at the City of Whitehorse's super event. Thank you for including kicksleds in the festivities! It reminded me to get out of the shop more and into the community because it is so fun to introduce people to kicksleds and kick with them. My favourite enthusiastic youth athlete came for his second year, and we are conspiring to figure out how to make kicksparking a sport at the 2020 Arctic Winter Games! Any sporty people with suggestions, I am open to any guidance on that! Thank you!
2. Birthday weekend Atlin Lake Kickstravaganza. Last winter was so cold, ice on the big lakes could not have been better. A last minute plan had us meeting at Warm Bay – two kicksleds and two fat bikes (the kicksleds carried all the bikers’ camping gear no problem, FYI) – for a kickspedition on the last two days of April. We kicked south into the Atlin/Téix'gi Aan Tlein Provincial Park and enjoyed the magical islands for a night before returning home. Gunalchéesh and great respect to the Taku River Tlingit people for care and stewardship of your stunning territory. It is my honour to spend time there.
1. Easter Weekend Carcross to Tagish by lake Kickspedition. Best Life Highlight of 2017! After the intrepid Peter Heebink tested out some kicksled cargo loading configurations, I floated the idea of a kick-camping trip with work friends. My adventurous and organized boss, Christina Macdonald, kept me accountable and on track with trip planning. We had a perfect group, perfect ice conditions, and perfect weather for kicksledding on Nares and Tagish lakes with the caribou. It was pure magic and proved concept that kicksleds are the best for lake travel in spring. Gunalchéesh and great respect to the Carcross/Tagish First Nation for care and stewardship of your stunning territory. It is an honour to live here!
Deep gratitude to all the people who I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and who have offered enthusiasm and support for the Kicksled Revolution in 2017.
HERE IS TO KICKSPEDITIONS AND OTHER BIG THINGS IN 2018. HAPPY NEW YEAR!