Freestyle ski training in Whistler will receive a boost in the form of a National Training Centre on Blackcomb Mountain, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) announced last week.
The facility will include a permanent mogul training and event site on Catskinner run, adjacent to the highest level terrain park. The centre will be built to FIS specifications and will feature an air bag training site.
“The plan falls into CFSA’s strategic vision for Whistler as a turnkey high performance training and event hosting centre and producer of a strong pool of future Olympians,” said Bruce Robinson, CEO of the CFSA in a press release. “The proposed mogul site and air bag facilities will be highly flexible to serve all levels of athletes from club to elite level.”
The facility will significantly impact the youth development of freestyle skiing in Whistler, lead by the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club (WBFSC), which hopes to build future Olympians from the strong talent pool of young skiers in the Sea to Sky corridor.
“Having a National Training Centre right here at home will greatly enhance our program and ensure we have a consistent place to train all winter long,” said WBFSC head coach Sarah Hogg in the release. “It will attract teams from across the country as well as international skiers, which will further inspire our young skiers to follow their dreams.”
Other national freestyle training centres in Canada include Val-St-Come in Quebec and the Winsport training centre at Calgary Olympic Park, but Blackcomb will be the first national-level centre on the West Coast. Freestyle skiing wasn’t left with an Olympic legacy after the 2010 Winter Games and the addition of the Blackcomb facility is intended to close that gap.
If funding can be secured, work on the centre will begin as soon as this summer. The construction will require significant earthwork, snowmaking and electrical infrastructure, as well as a permanent judges stand.
This weekend (Feb. 6 – 9) the WBFSC will be hosting the second stop of the Timber Tour and Super Youth events for junior freestyle skiers aged 9 - 18 on Blackcomb. Around 200 skiers from across the province are expected to compete in Moguls, Slopestyle and Big Air events.
Axemen cut their teeth in Vancouver
The Squamish Axemen Rugby Union team had their first match of the spring season last Saturday (Jan. 31) against the fall champions, Kats RFC in Vancouver. With a fresh squad of players — some who hadn’t played a match in years and some who had never played at all — the Axemen were off to a nervous start and the Kats capitalized by using their forward pack to dominate the first half with a 21-0 lead.
The Axemen found their stride in the second half with a defensive game and more possession, holding back the Kats and Nolan Prevost managing a try against the strong Vancouver team to finish 26 - 5.
The next game for the Axemen will be on Saturday, Feb. 7 against the Rowers at Brockton Oval in Vancouver.