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Have a ball! These women are ready to hit the Cypress Mountain slopes in style for charity

Ball gowns will be the uniform of choice for these skiers and snowboarders for a fundraiser on Feb. 24
Ball gown skiers 02 MW web
Lisa Au, Kelli Sherbinin, Karen Stark and Tina Vicker get ready for a day of skiing and riding in ball gowns at Cypress Mountain. They’ll hit the slopes next Thursday, Feb. 24, to raise funds for charity.

A group of women will be having a ball on the slopes of West Vancouver’s Cypress Mountain Resort next Thursday (Feb. 24) in a stylish effort to raise money for charity.

Ten women are all set to don ball gowns for some skiing and snowboarding as part of a fun fundraiser for Ride Like A Girl, a mountain biking program that pairs teenage girls with experienced riders who act as mentors to help them develop skills and explore the trails safely.

The skiing stunt is a fancy follow-up to a 2019 fundraiser that saw 10 women hike the Grouse Grind in ball gowns, raising $13,000 for the North Shore chapter of KidSport, an organization that provides grants to help families cover the cost of a child's sport registration fee.

Both ball-gown events were organized by Karen Stark, who is becoming a bit of an expert on the best dresses for extreme exercise.

“I picked a dress that has straps this time,” she said with a laugh, adding that regardless of the cut of the gown, it’ll be interesting skiing and boarding in formal wear instead of the normal outdoor gear. “There’s the potential for a little more damage if we fall, but I expect it to go pretty good.”

The plan for Feb. 24 may change depending on conditions, but all 10 women are committed to doing at least one trip down in a gown.

“We’ll see what the weather brings us,” said Stark. “We’ll either ski for half a day, or maybe just one run if it’s raining up there.”

Stark said all of the gowns were purchased for less than $25 a piece at local thrift stores, and when they’re done with the stunt, they’ll donate them back.

They’ve already garnered more than $8,300 in donations from friends and corporate sponsors, and are hoping to crack $10,000, said Stark. Money raised for Ride Like A Girl helps young female mountain bike riders get into the action.

“Within the mountain bike industry, it is really male heavy, so the girls don’t often have a circle of buddies to ride with, or people to connect with to talk bikes and get advice,” said Stark. “[Ride Like A Girl] creates that social circle for the girls.”

And this may not be the last time you’ll see a pack of women in fancy dress ripping it up on the North Shore. Stark said she already has plans on doing another fundraiser on mountain bikes.

“I’m going to keep evolving this and see where it goes, until people are bored of seeing me in a gown,” she said.

Anyone interested in making a donation can contact Stark by email at