Mount Washington Snow Sports Clubs
Mount Washington Alpine Resort is home to six snow sport clubs that spend their seasons practicing and competing on their “home’ hill.
Mount Washington Ski Club
The Mount Washington Ski Club had another busy summer both on and off snow.
Head Coach John Trimmer said, “Our U16/U18 and FIS athletes worked hard on fitness from June on, spending much more time in the weight room than in years past.’
Club members hit the snow for one, eight-day camp, at Mt. Hood in Oregon at the end of August. “We were joined by several of our U12 group, making this our biggest summer camp in history,’ Trimmer said.
“We did a great fun team-building and fitness camp at the Outdoor Education Centre on Hornby Island in September -you have to love the high ropes course and Leap of Faith.’
A small group of the U16s also took part in the first-ever Coast Zone U16 fitness challenge in Vancouver in October. Kole Harle came second and Liam Gilchrist came eighth for boys, while Keegan McCooey and Maja Nymann came in third and fourth respectively for the girls.
The Ski Club has a variety of programs for skiers aged four and up. The Nancy Greene (U10 and U12) program teaches young skiers the “FUNdamentals’ of downhill skiing from December to April with CSIA or CSCF-certified coaches, small group sizes, progress reports and year-end awards.
There is also a program for older athletes who want to ski competitively, or who want increased training and the fun and challenge of gates and skier cross, Trimmer said.
The club is family-oriented and has a cabin with full kitchen facilities for families to use.
On the competition front, team member Mathieu Leduc is training with the National Ski Cross team and hopes to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
The Strathcona Nordics will focus this year on winning the BC Championships in Kelowna, Feb. 28 - March 2. Dr. Andreas Conradi from the Comox Valley is sponsoring a bus to take more than 60 athletes and coaches to the event.
The Nordics will also have a large contingent at the BC Midget Championships Feb. 8 - 9. “We will be bringing this event to Mount Washington in 2015,’ Club President Len Apedaile said.
The Nordic season ends with the Vancouver Island Loppet on March 29. The Nordics have started a new youth recreational program this year called SNAP (Strathcona Nordics Adventure Program), introducing youth to a variety of sports in the Nordic family, like cross-country skiing, biathlon or snowshoeing, club spokesperson Barb Kelly said.
The Nordics have also seen strong growth to its masters programs (recreational and racing programs for adults).
Five of the club's teen racers have been named to BC Provincial Teams: Avalon Wasteneys on the BC Ski Team, Alex Stapff and Morgan Meckert on the BC Development Team, and Tallon Noble and Ross Lamon on the BC Talent Squad Team.
Three club members are headed to the World Universiade Games in Trentino, Italy in early 2014. Andrea Lee qualified and will be skiing for Canada and for the club. Head coach Dave Battison has been appointed Head Coach of the Canadian Team, and President Len Apedaile has been appointed by the Federation International de Ski (FIS) the Technical Delegate for cross-country skiing.
Apedaile has been selected as the Technical Delegate of the International Paralympic Committee for the Nordic Skiing events at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. He will also be the Technical Delegate at an IPC World Cup event in Vuokatti, Finland in January.
“The Club is very lucky to have as its president a highly esteemed international race official,’ Kelly said.
Battison was not only named Head Coach for the Canadian National University Team, but he also received a national coaching award in October for his work as a community builder in the cross-country ski community.
Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Sports
This winter the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS) will hold its Learn to Ski/Snowboard Winter Sports Festival from Sunday, Jan. 5 to Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
“Anyone with a disability is welcome to apply,’ said Rose Kerr, Festival Chairperson.
“It's a great opportunity to get involved and receive four consecutive days of ski or boarding instruction from our nationally certified instructors. VISA provides free instruction, lift passes, equipment, two banquets, daily transportation from Courtenay to the mountain and a great time,’ she added.
The Winter Sports Festival is limited to 35 students and is open to anyone over the age of six years who has some ability to learn. Priority is given to first-time participants, Kerr said.
“We have had people from as far away as Great Britain who have participated in the Festival.’
In its 22nd year, VISAS will see more than 80 volunteer ski and snowboard instructors providing instruction to people with a physical or mental disability who want to learn to downhill ski, snowboard or cross country ski.
Vancouver Island Riders
The VI Riders freestyle snowboarding club begins the 2013-14 winter season with a new president as Mary-Ellen Bergvinson takes over from Linden Ruecker.
Linda is now head coach of the BC Snowboard Cross team. Bergvinson was secretary last year and has four boys who snowboard, so is no stranger to the club.
The VI Riders are gearing up to host a BC Snowboard Association Slopestyle competition Jan. 11 and 12, 2014.
A pair of VI Riders graduates are making names for themselves this year: Darcy Sharpe was once a member of the VI Riders and is now a member of the National Slopestyle Team with a chance of competing at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Thomas Bergvinson, 14, is a member of the BC Development Team that trains at Mt. Seymour.
While developing athletes is a focus for the VI Riders, the seven-year-old club is also adept at grooming coaches for higher goals. Dane Kaechele was once a coach for the VI Riders and is now head coach of the BC Snowboard Team.
Ruecker may be with the Provincial Snowboard Cross Team but he still sits as a Director on the VI Riders Board as Club Treasurer. And Dustin Heise, also a former coach, is now Director of Sport Development with Canada Snowboard.
Vancouver Island Biathlon Club
Members of the Vancouver Island Biathlon Club have been practicing shooting since November, and preparing for their first event of the season that was to be held in mid-December.
Some club members switched up their off-season training by taking up mountain biking last spring, according to the group's Facebook page.
This year the club is running a pair of programs: Biathlon Bears for kids aged 10 to 14 years, which follows Biathlon Canada's program of introducing youth to the sport of biathlon; and an adults / masters / youth program for those 15 years and older. This year the adults / masters / youth program will run monthly instead of weekly, but members with a valid PAL firearm certificate may come up during the off weeks and practice.
Mount Washington Freestyle Club
Mount Washington Freestyle Club is starting the new season with a new President, Lee Pond, who takes over from Sue Walker.
Head coach Ian McFadgen and Competitive Coach Tanya Callon lead the charge of returning coaches, who also include two former BC Team members returning to coach, Pond said. Bilingual (French and English) coaching will also be available this year to accommodate athletes whose parents are transferred into 19 Wing Comox, as well as others who are more comfortable learning in French.
The Freestyle Club has three members on the BC Team and BC Regional Team this year: Mei Pond, Teal Harle and Todd Heard.
Club members - including Pond and Harle - spent part of the off-season at Whistler in the summer, skiing the glacier, practicing on the water ramps and headed back to the snow in December.
The Club has a Try Freestyle Camp planned for Dec. 28 and 29, and the regular program begins Jan. 4, 2014 and running every weekend until April 27.
For athletes wanting to compete in freestyle, Pond says there are four Timber Tour competitions around the Province with Mount Washington slated to host the finale in April 2014.
The Freestyle Club runs between 50 and 75 members each year, and coaching staff like to run with higher numbers to keep all the age categories healthy. They also encourage former racers to come back as coaches.