From climbing gym to gym with climbing 

Great Wall moves to new home in village

The walls will be different, but climbing gym owner Bob Allison assures users that they will still be "great".

Last week it was announced that Great Wall Climbing Adventures will be moving to the Telus Whistler Conference Centre in December, giving up their old space in the Sundial Hotel. The new location, in the old Mountain World space, is larger and allows Great Wall to serve as both a climbing and fitness facility.

In addition to the climbing areas, there will also be a weight and cardio fitness room, a multi-purpose fitness area, a lounging and viewing area and a kids’ adventure zone with slides, tunnels, ladders and other obstacles.

The facility will also serve as a booking and meeting area for various activities offered around Whistler.

"We’ve always looked for opportunities to expand some of the things we could offer to round things out a bit," said Allison. "We’ve always been limited with the space we’re currently in, which is actually pretty common for Whistler where space is a rarity, which is why we were so happy that this place came up."

In the new centre the climbing gym will occupy 1,600 square feet, with ceiling heights similar to the existing location. The weight and aerobic fitness room is about 1,200 square feet, and the combined fitness/multipurpose room is 800 square feet. The kids’ adventure centre will also be about 800 square feet. The centre will offer supervision for kids aged five and over, although younger children will need to have a parent or guardian present.

While climbing will continue to be a major focus for the centre, the weight room and fitness areas will be open to the public.

"It’s for people staying in local hotels looking for somewhere in the village to get a workout, but it’s also for locals who work in the village," said Allison. "Locals can hit it before or after work, get showered, and go on from there."

The kids centre will serve a few roles. In addition to giving climbing gym and weight room users somewhere to leave younger kids, Allison sees it as a kind of drop-off centre for parents shopping or doing activities in the village.

"We have so many people coming in (to Great Wall) with kids three, four, and even five… and they maybe get a few climbs in with limited success. It’s hard to meet everyone’s needs with a climbing centre, but the adventure centre will have tubes and slides and other features that can keep kids busy for hours with the things they like to do."

Great Wall is expecting to close after the Labour Day long weekend, at which point the walls will be disassembled and moved to the new location. The new layout will be different, and some of the wood features will be replaced or upgraded.

Allison is hoping to have the centre open by November to give staff time to work out the bugs, but certainly by the Christmas season.

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