Banff National Park's $25,000 Big Mountain Challenge Winner Passes Torch to Runner-Up

Aug 07, 2012, 19:29 ET from Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Rick Chin to ascend three peaks for The Kidney Foundation of Canada

BANFF NATIONAL PARK, AB, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - One of the things that made the Banff National Park Big Mountain Challenge contest so engaging to participants was the ultimate and altruistic concept that the prize purse of $25,000 would be given entirely to a Canadian charity. Never was it imagined, however, that the spirit of charity and goodwill would extend beyond the contest close when winner, George Woodhouse, upon hearing of his contest ineligibility, would graciously step aside to allow the second-place contestant, Rick Chin, 31, to complete the challenge.

Twenty-two year old George Woodhouse of Owen Sound, Ontario, whose enthusiasm for Banff National Park's Big Mountain Challenge contest bubbled through on his Facebook and YouTube submissions, was announced the winner of the Big Mountain Challenge online contest on Friday August 3, 2012. The jubilation of the win was soon tempered by the official determination that Woodhouse was, in fact, ineligible to claim the prize.

"I totally understand the difficult position everyone faced in having to withdraw my contest submissions," said Woodhouse. "It's important that the contest is run fairly and by the rules so if I'm ineligible to win, I'm only too happy to pass it on to Rick who also did an amazing job."

The Banff National Park Big Mountain Challenge contest launched on Facebook on June 11, 2012, asking entrants to submit a photograph of themselves with accompanying commentary about how they would prepare for the epic challenge of ascending three mountain peaks over the course of seven days. By close of the contest, 719 entries had been submitted from around North America.

Ten finalists were chosen based on the number of favourable votes received via the online contest site. A panel of judges from Banff Lake Louise Tourism then whittled the list down further by taking both creativity and online engagement into consideration.

"We struggled to choose a winner amongst the top ten submissions, they were all so fantastic," said Jessica Pacheco, Banff Lake Louise Tourism's marketing manager and contest judge. "Just as George had displayed an impressive degree of creativity in his submission, Rick also went the extra mile to demonstrate his passion for the Big Mountain Challenge."

Chin, originally from Milton, Ontario, will now have two weeks to raise pledges of support that will be matched by Banff Lake Louise Tourism up to $5000. He will then travel to picturesque Banff National Park with a companion on August 27 and spend a week hiking to the spectacular summits of Mount Temple, Cascade Mountain and Sulphur Mountain. Upon completion of the ascents, the team will earn a guaranteed $15,000 for The Kidney Foundation of Canada as well as up to $10,000 more based on pledges earned.

"I'm shaking with excitement," said Chin upon hearing of his win. "Since I've been working with a nephrology research group at the University of Calgary, I've been able to learn a lot about kidney disease and the great work that The Kidney Foundation of Canada does. It means a lot to me personally to be able to raise funds for them."

The total prize package for Chin's adventure in Banff National Park includes:

  • Flights, where required, for two on Air Canada to Calgary and transportation to Banff National Park.
  • Eight nights' luxury accommodation at The Fairmont Banff Springs and The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
  • Spa treatments at the exclusive Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Banff Springs.
  • Certified Mountain Guide for Mount Temple and Cascade Mountain hikes and a Parks Canada guide for the Sulphur Mountain summit.
  • A Parks Canada Discovery Pass.

The Banff National Park Big Mountain Challenge is presented by Banff Lake Louise Tourism with generous support from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Brewster Travel Canada and Parks Canada.

About Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Banff Lake Louise Tourism is a destination marketing organization for the Town of Banff, Community of Lake Louise and Banff National Park.  Supporting over 800 businesses, our mission is to engage visitors in unrivalled, remarkable experiences with our membership. For more information about Banff and Lake Louise, please visit

SOURCE Banff Lake Louise Tourism

Image with caption: "Chin's Big Mountain Challenge photo entry (CNW Group/Banff Lake Louise Tourism)". Image available at: