Dec 1, 2008 | Marmot, Winter 2008

Ski Clubs Keep Busy in the Heat of the summer

Snowsports don’t stop when Mount Washington Alpine Resort closes its doors on the winter season.

All five of the Clubs that compete in their chosen fields – whether it be Alpine or Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding, flying through the air Freestyle or Biathlon – are equally as busy in the summer.

The Strathcona Nordics won’t be watching television this summer, they’ll be on it.

The team is co-operating with Discovery Channel on a series dealing with the science of sport, and will film at Mount Washington and Haig Glacier in Kananaskis, Alberta. in late July.

Strathcona Nordics’ head coach Dave Battison is already studying the effects of altitude on endurance athletes in an effort to increase their recovery capacity.

He has worked with PacificSport and with athletes around B.C., which is how Discovery Channel got his name.

He has 20 athletes whose blood lactates, strength and metabolism levels are tested regularly. “I’m one of the few professional coaches that works full time,” says Battison. “There’s not as many of us and certainly not many doing the things that I’m doing.”

Battison managed to get a spot at Haig Glacier for his elite athletes to train this summer. The Canadian national teams use the facility – which has a testing lab at 9,000 feet – for training, so it’s not easy to get in.

While the Strathcona Nordics’ elite athletes will primarily be involved in the filming, the junior and masters teams will also be involved in some aspect, Battison said.

The junior team works out four days a week together in the summer and go to training camps, too. Regular testing days are done at the end of each month. “The Haig trip will be one of our biggest training camps,” he said.

Biathlon team prepares for Olympics

The Vancouver Island Biathlon Club turns its sights on the 2010 Winter Olympics this summer. “The Olympics were a golden opportunity to raise the profile and build all our legacy stuff,” said Joe Bajan. “Our biggest focus in the last while was to complete our legacy components.”

That means preparing the Biathlon Range at Mount Washington Alpine Resort to host several international Olympic and Paralympic teams for training prior to the Olympics.

Bajan expected funding to fall into place after the Marmot went to press. The club had automated six of its targets in advance of hosting Team Sweden for training this year, and they hoped grant money would come through to allow them to automate the rest of the targets. That would make the biathlon range one of three in Canada with fully automated targets (the other two are in Whistler and Canmore, Alta.

The Biathlon Club will host the Cadet Provincial Championship Feb. 6-7, 2010, and have organized a special event following the race. Bajan said a race will be set up for any Olympic athletes who are at the mountain training for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

So the young biathletes and members of the public will have the opportunity to watch an Olympic-class race. “You’ll watch some of the world’s greatest,” Bajan said. “When you see what these guys do, it’s mind numbing. There’s no other word for it.”

Freestyle team hits water ramp at Whistler

Athletes with the Mount Washington Freestyle Club will spend their early summer on self-directed dryland training. There are also options for some participants to train with the B.C. Freestyle team at Whistler-Blackcomb, said Club spokeswoman Gina Stubbs.

“Our Club in the summer also goes to Whistler, to the water ramp, and we have a club water ramp camp,” Stubbs said. Athletes will learn to do flips and other more complicated jumps wearing wetsuits instead of snow gear, and landing in water, which is a better shock absorber. “It’s just a safer venue,” she added.

This summer, club volunteers will do some grading on the mogul park (on Lower Retirement) to adjust the pitch for a permanent mogul course. They will install a “table top” to create a safer platform for jumps, Stubbs said.

The competitive freestylers will kick their season into gear in the fall with a trip to Apex Alpine in Penticton, which opens early for national and provincial freestyle team training.

VI Riders keep on shreddin’

Vancouver Island’s only snowboarding club continues to pump out emerging athletes in both the developmental and competitive domains, club spokeswoman Kelsa Donald said.

“This year the Club brought on board their first female coach, who worked with an incredible group of female riders to nicely round out the skill level across the mountain,” she added.

Five of the VI Riders are involved with the B.C. Provincial Team or the Developmental Team now – an impressive record, considering the Club is only three years old, Donald said.

Cavin Donald – Mount Washington’s King of the Hill again this year – was selected to the B.C. Team.

He will undergo knee surgery in the summer and expects to be back in action in time for the winter season.

The rest of the Club’s athletes will work on self-directed training programs throughout the summer.

Summer’s all about ABCs for Mount Washington Ski Club

John Trimmer and the Mount Washington Ski Club’s other coaches spent a weekend in May conducting physical training for their athletes. They went on the road after that, setting up individual training programs that they will continue to monitor throughout the summer.

The club has also set up a few camps for its athletes between now and winter. “We have three dryland (physical) camps on the books for the summer where we will work on the ABCs — agility, balance, co-ordination and speed,” Trimmer said. “We hope to incorporate a gymnastics camp and a water camp into the mix.”

The club has two summer-on-snow camps booked, at Blackcomb in July and Mount Hood, Oregon in August. “Athletes had a great year last season at every level in the Club, and are super keen to work hard through the summer/fall on and off snow to ensure that next season is even better,” Trimmer said. The Club’s cabin will also undergo some big changes this summer: “We are expanding to better serve our membership.”

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