New shelter honours backcountry legend

by Andru McCracken


Tony Parisi was a long-time advocate for backcountry access and did snowmobile guiding in the winter / RMG FILE PHOTO

A new shelter is in the works for the Allen Creek snowmobiling area and it will honour the memory of Valemount’s legendary Tony Parisi.

Parisi played a big role in the debate over backcountry access, including in the struggle between snowmobilers and heliskiers near Valemount. He was at the table during the development of the Sustainable Resource Management Plan which ultimately gave birth to the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA).

Manager Curtis Pawliuk said it’s fitting that the cabin would be in his memory.

“Tony fought hard for backcountry access and was one of the main reasons conversations began that eventually led to the creation of what we now know as the Valemount & Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA),” said Pawliuk

“Tony lived for the feeling of being in the high country on sleds and helped pioneer the industry that feeds Valemount today. This new shelter will forever act as a memorial for our good friend, mountain legend, true cowboy and the original Snowfarmer.”

Parisi passed away from cancer in May.

Pawliuk said the new shelter would be a stretch for the organization, but a valuable addition for users.

“Due to the remoteness of the building site, very short build season and general difficulties of construction, this will be a very large undertaking,” he said.

Pawliuk said people can help with the project by donating to the gofundme campaign. Donors who contribute more than $100 will be recognized on a permanent plaque in the cabin.

“The new shelter means a huge deal to sledding in Valemount and we are extremely happy to be able to dedicate this build to our friend Tony,” he said.

At the time of writing, the campaign had raised $17,590 in 5 days. VARDA hopes to raise $25,000 in total.  Construction is set to start in fall 2018.

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