Dec 1, 2007 | Marmot, Winter 2007

Win Win Partnership for Vancouver Island Mountain Sport Society

The Vancouver Island Mountain Sport Society has signed an historic partnership with PacificSport that VIMSS Chair Rick Morson hopes will result in a Regional Sports Centre at Mount Washington.

“I think it’s really important for securing the funding and sponsorship for building the Sports Centre,” Morson said of partnering with PacificSport.

The partnership is the second phase of the Mountain Sports Centre development, Morson said. The first phase was completed earlier this year when portions of the Biathlon and Nordic trails were outfitted with lights. The most important objective now will be raising the funds necessary to build the centre, he said.

The Mountain Sports Centre will cost approximately $1.5 million to complete, Morson said The VIMSS has applied for $700,000 in matching grants from the North Island Coastal Economic Trust. Their application has already passed phase one and Morson hopes to hear by the end of the year whether they were successful in the next phase.

PacificSport exists to develop elite athletes in their quest for excellence in eight member sports. The Nanaimo-based centre is connected to a network of eight sports centres across B.C. The Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Centre would be the ninth. “We think development of facilities like the VIMSS is critical,” said Gord Sleivert, Vice-president of Sport Performance at Pacific Sport.

“There’s a whole number of levels on which we think this is beneficial for us,” Sleivert said. “One of the reasons we entered into the partnership is to make sure we can help promote the benefits of what they want to achieve…and in doing so make sure there is another facility on Vancouver Island.”

PacificSport has 1,000 athletes registered with its services, and many of the high-calibre athletes that train at Mount Washington are already members. “Mount Washington is a world-class destination for biathlon and other cross-country skiing events,” Sleivert said. “Having a facility on the mountain that provides ancillary training (such as an exercise room) is only going to be beneficial having national teams coming and training in the region. “That’s another reason we wanted to partner and make this happen.”

Sleivert said it is conceivable that the VIMSS could facilitate more than just winter sports. PacificSport already has a national mountain bike training centre in Victoria, but could see hosting mountain bike training camps at Mount Washington in the summer.

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