Rugby is alive and well in Whistler 

Of all the sports that Whistler has to offer, I’ll bet most of you never thought there was a rugby club up in the mountains. I mean let’s face it, in a town full of ski bums, hippies, and people looking for the quiet life, and among all the other sports that make this place the Mecca it is, you would think this is the last place on earth to find the "sport of gentlemen."

I beg to differ. When you really look at the people who live here, you discover a lot of people who have played the game in the past and have a strong rugby background. Besides, Whistler is full of Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and other foreign nationals who grew up with cleats on their feet and electrical tape around their ears.

When you think about it, Whistler probably has more per capita rugby players than any town in the province. It’s the perfect backdrop for rugby, and the reason why rugby is entering its 13 th year.

The Whistler Hoarey Marmots Rugby Football Club was founded in 1988 by Don Pashleigh (Tapley’s Pub) and Rob Giffen. Originally it was just a good reason to get outside after a long winter and throw around a ball to work off the apres ski belly wobble.

The same holds true today, but over the years the club has started to compete in sevens tournaments in the Lower Mainland, and to host a tournament of its own.

Last year was the most successful season for the club to date. After camping on the field, the team won its division in the Simon Fraser University "Magnificent" sevens. One week later, the team won the Whistler tournament in Whistler and $1,000 in prize money put up by Tapley’s Pub.

This season the club is stepping it up another notch, and plans to put together a full side of 15 and challenge clubs in the Lower Mainland to friendly games. The Marmots also plan to field sevens teams for both men and women.

Training began last week at the Whistler Secondary field and judging by the numbers and the talent it’s going to be a great season. Even if you’ve never played, or have no interest in competing, everybody is welcome to come out to practices, guys and girls.

Practices are every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. at Whistler Secondary. For more information, contact Donny at 932-4301.

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