Dec 1, 2012 | Marmot, Winter 2012

Mount Washington Snow Sports Clubs

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is home to six snow sport clubs and one summer sport (mountain biking) club whose members spend their seasons practicing and competing on their "home" hill.

Mount Washington Ski Club

The Mount Washington Ski Club invites kids aged four to 12 to come out and participate this winter in the various programs it offers.

The Nancy Greene (newly named U10 and U12) program teaches young skiers the FUNdamentals of downhill skiing, including basic skills alongside the technical aspects of the sport. The U10 and U12 programs run from December to April and are designed for skiers who can ski independently. Skiers are evaluated at the beginning of the season.

“The Mt. Washington Ski Club offers CSIA and/or CSCF certified coaches, small group sizes, progress reports, year end awards, team and individual pictures, family use of the club cabin with full kitchen facilities, social gatherings and, most importantly, hot chocolate,” says Head Coach John Trimmer.

“While these programs promote skiing without the pressures of intense competition, skiers do have opportunities to show off their racing skills in fun, club-based events.”

The All Mountain Skills Program (AMS) is great for skiers aged 11-16 looking to continue developing their skiing skills in a fun, non-competitive team environment. This group skis on groomed runs, in skier cross, in gates, on bumps and steeps and will become better skiers and gain a greater knowledge of the mountain and ski safety.

The Club also offers programs for older athletes who wish to follow a more competitive stream and those who just want increased training and the fun and challenge of gates and skier cross. The U14/U16 and FIS (aged 12 to 18) train and race slalom, giant slalom, skier cross and Super G but they also live for steeps and deeps, and love to blow off some steam in the Terrain Park.

These groups have been working on fitness the last few months, the younger athletes through multi-sport involvement and the older athletes through a mixture of sport and ski specific training. “Our last day on snow was Aug. 29th at Mount Hood in Oregon and many of this group will be traveling to Apex in the middle of November to sharpen their skills prior to the start of our race season in December,” Trimmer said.

Strathcona Nordics

The Strathcona Nordics racing program – comprising Devos, Junior Racers and Masters Racers – is enjoying some explosive growth this year.

The program has basically doubled; there are 60 participants in the combined racing program under the leadership of head coach Dave Battison.

“As a result, we will be taking one of the largest teams in B.C. (20 skiers) to the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals at Whistler Olympic Park at the end of March,” club president Len Apedaile said.

Battison said it’s an exciting time for the club – a period of tremendous growth and development. The high numbers that will head to the nationals will put the Strathcona Nordics among the top five teams in Canada, he added.

“We have a very young team this year. For the majority of them, it will be their first national event. It will be interesting to see where the team is a few years from now,” he added.

Cross-country skiing on Mount Washington and the Strathcona Nordic Ski Club programs have been some of the best-kept secrets in the Comox Valley for years says Barbara Kelly, the club’s communications director and ski club parent.

“As a parent of teen racers who have come through the Rabbit and Devo programs, it’s great to see the growth. It looks like people are finally catching on to what an amazing sport and recreational activity Nordic skiing is – and how lucky we are to be able to ski and train here at Mount Washington.”

The Nordics will host the final event of the invitational Teck Coast Cup series March 9-10 and have booked the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre for the event.

Because the ski nationals are taking place at the end of March, the Vancouver Island Loppet has been moved to April 13, wrapping up the Canadian race calendar.

As part of the Strathcona Nordics’ Olympic/ Paralympic legacy, 10 officials from the club will travel this winter to participate in provincial and national championships, Noram, FIS World Cup, Paralympic World Cup and Paralympic World championship events in Sochi, Russia, Solleftea, Sweden, Trentino, Italy, Canmore, Alta. and Whistler, B.C.

In 2010, the Nordics sent 36 officials to the Olympics/ Paralympics; 10 of them are still active at high-level events, Apedaile said. Several more still help out at local races.

Vancouver Island Biathlon

While the snowy trails have been a distant dream for many, the folks at Vancouver Island Biathlon Club (VIBC) have been busy planning another exciting season says spokesperson Christoph Dettling.

“Over the summer, we held our inaugural mountain bike biathlon race and hopefully it will become a regular staple for many summers to come.”

Participants from ages 12 to 40 enjoyed this warm and sunny incarnation of biathlon – many for the first time, he said.

For the upcoming season, VIBC has also moved beyond its Try Biathlon sessions, and will be offering eight-week biathlon programs for juniors and masters, starting Jan. 12.

No experience is necessary, but the more comfortable you are on skis, the more you’ll enjoy this course. Instructors will be Biathlon Canada certified and, as always, fun will come second only to safety.

“While you might be wondering if this Olympic sport is safe, keep in mind that more injuries are sustained in ping pong, than in all Olympic shooting sports combined,” Dettling said.

Vancouver Island Riders

Since its inception in 2007, VI Riders snowboard club has focused on providing freestyle skill development in a fun, confidence-building environment and teaching safe snowboard practices.

Its members meet every Saturday morning at Mount Washington and shred all day, working on jumps, spins and grabs in the terrain park

Due to popular demand, the club this year has introduced a competitive stream. This program is geared toward competition development and will require more intense on and off-snow training, club president and head coach Linden Ruecker said.

Athletes in the competitive stream will meet every Saturday and Sunday morning to train at Mount Washington. They will also be traveling off-island and competing in BC Snowboard Association sanctioned events.

While competition is mandatory for these athletes, it remains optional for those who join the skill development program, Ruecker said.

“Mount Washington puts on several competitions throughout the winter and we encourage all of our members to participate. They’re always a lot of fun.”

This year the VI Riders have provided a complementary dry land training program to its on-snow programs. Dry land training is an essential part of progression and continued training while not on snow, Ruecker said.

The program is a trampoline-focused training that will develop athletes’ balance skills as well as safe aerial maneuvers. They will train Thursday nights at the Comox gymnastics club.


Half pipes. Big air. Steep and deep. If this kind of language excites your kids, you need to check out the Mount Washington Freestyle Club.

Skiers participating in any of the programs the club offers will gain a well-rounded skill set. The club offers instruction and competition on everything from single and dual moguls to ski cross, aerials, half pipe and alpine skiing.

The club has a dedicated mogul course and a big air site for members to use. Classes or age groupings are kept small, with a maximum of 10 skiers.

One of the things that make this club run smoothly is its parent volunteer commitment. The club operates with the philosophy that parent involvement only makes the club stronger.

Our Jumps & Bumps Coaches work with entry level athletes honing their skills through the FUNdamentals of Freestyle skiing. We have a team of exceptional coaches with many that have come up through our Club programs. All coaches are certified through CFSA and registered with the National Coach Program.

Many of the Club Development Coaches come from a competition background and work on more specific skill development with skiers of an age and ability ready for this level of coaching. ­The Mount Washington Freestyle Club is looking for lead/ head coaches for its 2012-13 season.

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