"There are going to be a few changes this year and some new people, which were really excited about," said club founder and administrator Rob Picard. "Weve definitely taken a step forward this year."
The new halfpipe at Base II, which was built this summer to host the 2005 World Snowboarding Championships in January, has lights and snowmaking in place, and could be ready to open by Christmas if the weather co-operates.
"This is such a big thing for us, and should help us put more kids on podiums, national and provincial, and hopefully at the Olympics," said Picard.
"Right now we get together two days on the weekend, and getting our athletes to hike the halfpipe is incredibly painful for us because they all want to ride the Terrain Park. The problem is the park is so amazing they dont want to ride the pipe.
"Starting this winter, during the week under the lights the pipe will be the only thing to ride, so theyll be able to focus more on it and really work on their skills."
Another important change for the club was the hiring of Joe McAdoo as head coach. Picard says that frees him up to take care of administration and recruitment, while providing the athletes with a coach that has experience working with the national and development team.
"We heard the CSF was dropping its development program this year, so we snatched Joe up. Hes an incredible rider and coach, and were really lucky that he was available," said Picard.
Former club riders have also stepped into coaching roles, with Tyler Massey, Tim Orr and others passing on their skills to the younger riders while they continue to work on new skills and their riding portfolios.
This year the club has put out a 13-month calendar, beginning this November, that features riders from the club and art by local photographers like Crispin Cannon, Dano Pendygrasse and Brad Kasselman. The calendar will be available locally at shops like Showcase Snowboards and Westbeach, and Picard is working to make it available in the Lower Mainland as well. Proceeds from the calendar sales will go back into the club to help cover training costs.
The icing on the cake for the club this year is their new video, which will premiere this Saturday, Oct. 9 in the youth centre at Millennium Place. The title of the video is Coming In Hot, which is a rider term for coming into a jump or stunt with a lot of speed. "Its our clubs slogan for this winter," said Picard.
The video includes short segments from every rider with the club doing their best tricks, as well as some longer segments featuring the clubs more prominent riders like Tyler Massey. Most of the footage was shot on the mountains, but the group did head into the backcountry for some segments. In one segment the club even went to Vancouver during a snowstorm to film some of the club athletes hitting handrails at schools and parks.
The video will premiere alongside a short movie featuring young skiers like Kye Petersen and Sean and Callum Pettit, that will be included in the next Poor Boyz DVD.
The moves get underway at 8:30 p.m. and admission is free.
For more information on the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, visit their Web site at www.whistlervalleysnowboardclub.ca.