On August 21, 2021, Richard Dupuis, Dave Ternier, Paul Archbutt and Tim Frykoda, Board members of Valley Life Recreation Inc. (VLR), along with Rob & Leigh Heie, parents of the late Ole Heie, will embark on a 172 km single-day mountain bike ride in Ole’s name. The ride will begin at the historic elevators of Inglis, Manitoba and stretch across Riding Mountain National Park, ultimately coming to completion at the park’s historic site of Eastgate. Ole’s sister Ava will also be joining for a significant portion of the ride, as will two other dedicated cycling friends of VLR, Chris Wolfenden of Dauphin and Kevin Earl of Morden. (Post ride edit: Chris was unable to make it.)
The Board of Valley Life Recreation was shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of Ole Heie, an aspiring 12-year-old elite athlete who was suddenly taken from us July 10, 2021 while out for a run. After discussion with the Heie family, the idea of completing a significant fundraising ride in Ole’s name was born. Through this effort, a trail in Minnedosa’s recently announced Squirrel Hills Trail Park will be named in honor of Ole and the beautiful life-changing story of Ole Heie will be enjoyed by those who share the trails and beyond. Pledges for the ride are now being accepted online at www.ValleyLifeRec.ca/Ole (details for cheque and e-transfer pledges can also be found there).
Valley Life Recreation Inc. is a volunteer driven charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of public spaces through the development, maintenance and promotion of muti-use trails in the Little Saskatchewan Valley of Minnedosa, Manitoba. Their recently announced trail park, slated for construction in 2022, will be in an area that Ole loved to run, hike & ski and was a project Ole was eagerly anticipating hearing about, prior to his untimely and tragic passing. Just 2 days after his passing, VLR announced their comprehensive plan to develop the area to accommodate a world-class mountain biking, snowshoe, walking and trail-running park to compliment the existing cross-country ski trail and hiking network. Ole would have loved this! If there is someone who knew every trail and animal trail in that area, it was Ole. Ole and his family have strong ties to the Minnedosa area as his Mom, Leigh, daughter of Randy & Gwen Usick, was born and raised here. The family could often be found enjoying the number of trails throughout the community. Cross country skiing, biathlon, running, swimming, mountain biking and road cycling became important passions and talents that Ole choose to pursue, gaining endless skills and friendships along the way.
Ole’s passion and drive became apparent at the age of 2 years when he put on his first set of cross country skis and he seemed a natural right from the start. He fell – a lot – and just got right back up with a face full of snow and a beaming smile and kept on going. He was a lifelong member of the Camrose Ski Club & Jr. Vikings. A driven and dedicated athlete, Ole quickly became well known in the Nordic and running communities and recently crushed some pretty impressive goals. He reached 1000 KM in his first 54 days of the last ski season, made national news with his single day 100 KM ski and completed his first 50 KM ultra marathon with an 1800 metre elevation gain this spring. Ole’s smile, adventurous passion and positive spirit was infectious to all who had the honour of knowing him.
Although usually the first to finish a race, his success never went to his head. Ole thrived off of being humble and treated everyone equal, no matter what their level. This little Legend had a heart of Gold and was always looking out for others. He viewed his competitors as future teammates and would usually be found enthusiastically cheering the last racer across the finish line – no matter the weather or who it was. He had a natural way of creating energy that motivated those around him and a determination to wish others well. He was a living example of love and a true gift of inspiration. To Ole, sport wasn’t just racing, it was for seeing friends, pushing oneself, celebrating gains, encouraging each other, sharing hope, helping each other through his kind gentleness, his caring attitude and shear passion for his beloved sport in enjoying every single moment. Ole shared his philosophy and passion as a proud brand ambassador for Salomon Athletics Company and was also a gifted musician and conscientious student who lived life to its fullest.
Ole had his heart set on one day becoming an Olympian. By the presence of the flag bearer from the Korean Olympics and former and present Olympians at his Celebration of Life, it appears as though he was already a part of Team Canada!
Ole’s philosophy in life was to live like there’s no tomorrow. He really has shown us “It’s not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years!”
The ride on August 21st will be in Ole’s name and the goal is to raise $100 for every KM travelled by bike that day. With the ride length expected to be 172 kms, this would greatly advance the trail park fundraising goals and increase the likelihood that a trail to honour Ole’s legacy comes to life as soon as next year.
On behalf of the Heie and Usick family and Valley Life Recreation, we invite any who are moved by Ole’s story and his love of the trails to contribute to the Squirrel Hills Trail Park in Ole’s name.