WMSC gets ready for winter 

Athletes travel to Europe, Colorado in search of snow

Currie Chapman has hit the ground running as the new program director for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, launching new programs while making sure the club’s high-performance athletes get off to an early start on the snow. Ensuring that the club benefits from the 2010 Games is also a priority, and Chapman is confident that the club will see that when all the decisions are made.

“We’d like to get going on snow here, it’s starting to get a little late, but we have a small team that went to Europe to train at Bormio… and a group of 19 athletes that went to Colorado,” he said last week. “We’re in contact with the coaches and they’re getting in some good training in both places. In Bormio they’re actually training with the Italian team, so that’s an incredible opportunity for the young racers.”

The Bormio crew includes some of the older club members, aged 18 to 20, while the crew in Copper Mountain, Colorado from Nov. 7 to 16 were accompanied by four coaches and a cook, and training both GS and slalom.

You may have also seen a group of kids running around Creekside recently, with athletes getting in some last minute dryland training before the snow flies. The club held its dryland testing day in North Vancouver on Nov. 9 to assess the overall fitness of racers.

Chapman says the club’s J1, J2 and FIS athletes have been training through the summer for the most part, and other programs have been held for the younger kids. The goal is not just to podium at the regional and provincial level, but at the national level as well.

The Canadian Alpine Ski Team currently has four WMSC alumni, siblings Britt and Mike Janyk, Robbie Dixon, and Manuel Osborne-Paradis. The B.C. Ski Team currently has three WMSC alumni, brothers Conrad and Morgan Pridy, and Victoria Whitney.

Currie is a veteran with over 35 years of experience competing and coaching, and was hired to replace Nigel Cooper after last season. One of the projects that Chapman inherited was working with Whistler-Blackcomb and VANOC to secure Olympic legacies for alpine skiing in Whistler. That may mean a dedicated training facility on Whistler Mountain, equipment, training for volunteers and officials, and beds in the athletes’ village for skiers visiting from outside Whistler.

“We’re still very much working on that, but it’s a bit quiet at the moment because we’re waiting for the powers that be to settle a few things before we really get into the topic of legacies,” he said. “I can say that both (VANOC and Whistler-Blackcomb) have been very supportive, and that it’s looking very good, and we’re certainly hoping that we get a wonderful legacy, and a dedicated training area for years to come.”

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