After taking over the Whistler Racket Club in January, Jamie Grant and his business partners set to work making the space a community hub.
Two short months later, with that work still in progress, the COVID-19 pandemic brought things to a screeching halt. However, with some elbow grease and ingenuity, the club is back on track and, as one of the first recreational options to reopen, is primed to make up for lost time.
While tennis may be the sport associated most closely with the club, Grant and his team are working to expand its offerings, hosting pickleball socials on Fridays and offering yoga and fitness classes in a physically distant manner.
"Everything is just starting to gain some steam," Grant said.
Grant added that the centre has also welcomed some small birthday and graduation parties to its outdoor adventure zone, which has activities including axe throwing, archery, horseshoes and bocce.
"We're lucky in the sense that we have this massive outdoor space so we can distance easily," he said, noting that the club has plans to install a roof over the outdoor adventure zone down the line.
Another outdoor "pod" includes basketball hoops, hockey nets and space for roller-skating.
The next phase of the plan is to fully reopen the indoor space. While the tennis bubble has been utilized for programming during inclement weather, the clubhouse and indoor dining area won't be accessible until July 1.
During the closure, the club took the time to start implementing new software, a necessary switch to handle the wide variety of additional programming. As well, while it won't be called into action immediately as distancing precautions remain in effect, crews constructed a yoga studio as part of the indoor renovations.
With recreation activities still limited, Grant has found more and more people discovering the club, noting that of the 50 people allowed at the June 12 pickleball social, there were roughly 15 to 20 first-timers in the introductory clinic.
"We're really setting up to be a little bit of everything for the community," he said. "We're excited about what we're putting together and the response from people who have come by has been positive."
One of the pandemic's recreational casualties, in large part due to the indefinite restrictions on large gatherings, was another of Grant's ventures, The Hangar in Function Junction.
As well, Grant noted that chef Neal Harkins has worked hard to open up the courtside grab-and-go café, with plans to expand food and drink offerings in the future.
For more on the club and its upcoming events, see mywrc.ca.
GranFondo to offer free training
Though the RBC GranFondo Whistler has been called off for 2020, organizers are helping cyclists remain active.
The event announced that its Fondo Clinics by Trek will be offered free of charge this summer online as the GranFondo waived its $275 fee.
The first of 12 weekly sessions, available in beginner, intermediate or advanced options, was released virtually on June 8. The sessions are designed to help participants progress throughout the summer, guiding achievements ranging from improving one's time on a climb, increasing power or having the stamina to tackle a GranFondo-like distance.
Participants can also register for emails from SportMedBC for additional tips and training advice.
The content will be accessible to everyone regardless of location.
For more information, check out rbcgranfondo.com/whistler/training-clinics.
VICTORIA protecting sports organizations from COVID-19 liability
The provincial government is helping facilitate amateur athletes' return to play through a ministerial order announced on June 10.
The province announced that, with amateur sports organizations finding it difficult to obtain insurance for COVID-19-related damages, it will protect those groups from direct or indirect liability, as long as they are abiding by public health orders and provincial sport guidelines.
"Many sports organizations are run by volunteers who need to make sure they are protected for risks related to COVID-19. This order will help cover that risk so people can safely get back to playing sports sooner in their communities," Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare said in a release.
In addition to standard precautions such as proper handwashing, regular disinfecting and implementing physical-distancing procedures, organizations must also limit equipment sharing and use wellness questionnaires and health self-assessment tools.