Charitable skier offers a little ‘salvation’

Andy Young’s giving it his all so those in need can receive.
At 67 years old but not even close to slowing down, the Fort Frances resident has decided to do his part to make a difference for the local Salvation Army by turning a winter full of cross-country skiing into a charitable endeavour.
Young has organized “The Chubby Old Guy From the Manitou’s Ski for Sally Ann,” which has him taking pledges for the Salvation Army based on the number of kilometres he skis this winter—along with the number of pounds he also loses along the way.
“I’ve always had a soft spot for the Salvation Army,” Young said from his Reef Point Road home on the shore of Rainy Lake, where he and his wife, Betty, spent the cold months before heading to the isolated Manitou area when the spring thaw arrives.
“If any charity is forced to work on low operating costs, it’s the ‘Sally Ann,’” he stressed.
An avid cross-country skier, Young wanted to combine his love of the outdoor life with helping what he considered a worthwhile organization. He began sending out letters to local businesses last Wednesday and said responses already have started to trickle in.
“I’ve heard from five people already and I’m sure once Christmas is over, I’ll be hearing from a lot more,” he remarked.
“It’s funny because so far, the people are more interested in pledging on the weight loss portion of the campaign rather than the distance I’ll be covering,” he added.
Young is aiming to pile up 900-1,000 km during his skiing exploits this winter, while hoping to lose as much as 20 pounds, as he strives to raise $2,000-$3,000.
He worked out an hour a day on a cross-country skiing machine at home for several months to prepare himself for the 10-km loop around McTaggart’s Island that he’s set at his daily goal.
“It’s having the discipline that matters,” said Young. “The tough part some days is having to get myself up on the skis. But once I’m there, I’m fine.”
The most daunting part for Young during his travels is the weather—but not like you might think. “The wind and the blowing snow don’t bother me,” he noted. “The biggest problem is there’s [almost] no snow.
“I’ve got to go out there with my bicycle helmet, looking pretty silly, in case I fall where there’s not enough snow,” he laughed.
And there’s no reason in Young’s mind to approach this as only a one-time proposition.
“I’m already looking ahead to next year,” he said. “Maybe I can issue challenges to individuals or businesses to match what I’m doing.”
Anyone interested in making a pledge, or wanting more information, can contact Young at 274-7436.