For his 22nd birthday, Carter Nieuwesteeg wants to carve corners not cake.
The Fernie-born mountain bike racer has asked friends and family not to give him any gifts this year, but rather donate to the organization that has helped fuel his cycling dreams: the Fernie Trails Alliance (FTA).
“Fernie has become what it is today thanks to this nonprofit organization and their ability to create a vast network of world class trails that we use year round,” wrote Nieuwesteeg on Facebook.
“These amazing trails we all love has made a huge impact on my life and I am sure for many others too.”
Speaking to The Free Press, Nieuwesteeg said the Fernie trails network has “exploded” since he started riding 15 years ago.
His favourite trail growing up was Hyperventilation and he now races while studying economics at the University of Victoria.
“I’ve been trying to think of ways to give back and it’s kind of hard to do it when you’re away at school,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure how people would respond to it but some people have started to donate, which is pretty cool.”
Nieuwesteeg hopes to reach his target of $1000 by his birthday on January 1. As of press time (December 31), he had raised $895.
He is planning to celebrate at Kodiak Lounge at the Raging Elk Hostel, which has also committed to donating the proceeds from one hour of drink sales to the FTA.