Peak hiking to raise money for coaches
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Members of the West Elk Hockey Association post for a photo after completing a peak hike as a team. Pictured are: (Top, l-r) Ryder Church, Brewer Bogart, Marshall Spann, Cody Sawyer; (middle, l-r)Tanner Maltby, Grady Buckhanan, Brett Wynes, Jake White, Max Dukeman; (bottom, l-r) Garrett MacLennan, Jordan and Gabby Silva and Emery White.
Members of the West Elk Hockey Association post for a photo after completing a peak hike as a team. Pictured are: (Top, l-r) Ryder Church, Brewer Bogart, Marshall Spann, Cody Sawyer; (middle, l-r)Tanner Maltby, Grady Buckhanan, Brett Wynes, Jake White, Max Dukeman; (bottom, l-r) Garrett MacLennan, Jordan and Gabby Silva and Emery White.

Reclaiming the outdoors.

You could say that has been the theme so far for 2020. Getting outdoors has been one of the few allowable activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, with its social distancing restrictions and closures.

Turns out, getting outdoors is not only good for your health but it can also be a good time to get to know a friend or teammates better. That’s how members of the local hockey community have taken to their newfound passtime.

“We thought hiking was something we could safely do during COVID-19 and a good team bonding activity,” said Wendy Buckhanan, executive director of the West Elk Hockey Association (WEHA).

The team bonding activity Buckhanan is talking about is the new fundraiser WEHA started this summer, called the Peak Challenge.

The Peak Challenge started on Monday, June 15, and will end Sunday, Aug. 30 — where Wolverine hockey players can take family members or a group of teammates and go hit the peaks.

The goal of the fundraiser is to raise $5,000, which is achievable if each player raises $75.

The way they raise the money is first by getting sponsors, who can donate a certain amount per peak completed or by giving a flat donation.

Then the Wolverines can choose a peak based on the WEHA recommended three local hiking areas — Elk Mountains, Sawatch Range and San Juan Mountains. All peaks count.

Once they have completed the peak, they’ll contact their sponsors and let them know how many peaks they have climbed and collect the sponsorship.

Additionally, each Wolverine has set a goal of how many peaks they want to climb during the fundraiser.

Once the Wolverines fill up the form with sponsors, they will bring it to the Peak Challenge Event on Aug 30. The Wolverine who collects the most money will win a free October Hockey Clinic, at either Hull Hockey or Rocky Mountain Hockey Schools.

“The Wolverines have been getting after it,” said Buckhanan.

(Brandon Warr can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or brandon@gunnisontimes.com.)