Hannah Edleston had nothing but a snowboard, a “soccer mom van,” and $1,000 to her name when she was given the opportunity to buy Whistler Creek Athletic Club in 2015.
“It was a really steep learning curve because I’ve never owned a business before,” Edleston says.
“I had no experience in business or gyms. I figured it out as I went along.”
Edleston and her business partner jumped at the opportunity to buy the gym and transform it into their vision. Building on their success, they also acquired two more Whistler businesses.
Along the way, Edleston had some incredible business mentors who inspired her to pay it forward by helping other local businesses.
“I teach people that yes, you can do it, and this is how you can do it,” Edleston says. “Let me help you because so many people have helped me.”
That same spirit of comradery and cooperation inspires the philosophy of Whistler Creek Athletic Club.
“Because I haven’t had any training in business, I went with instincts for how I wanted the gym to be,” Edleston says.
“I made the gym into what I would want to go to. The gym is built around community. People come to the gym not necessarily to look a certain way, but to improve their athletic abilities and get up the mountain. It’s full of incredibly interesting people who are trying to better themselves and enjoy the mountain to the best of their ability.”
Part of that sense of community includes raising funds for the non-profit Edleston started, the Youth in Sport Foundation, which provides opportunities for local Whistler youth to overcome financial barriers to participating in sports.
“Whistler is seen as an affluent town, but it’s not completely true. A lot of people are living paycheque to paycheque,” Edleston says.
“Some of the kids are being forgotten.”
To benefit the Youth in Sport Foundation, the Whistler Creek Athletic Club is holding the 5 x 5 Fitness Challenge, a five-day virtual fundraiser that pushes participants to take on different fitness activities for five days.
This year’s focus will be on Indigenous Youth, who will receive the proceeds of the fundraiser.
To learn more about the Whistler Creek Athletic Club and the 5x5 Fitness Challenge, visit www.whistlergym.com/5-x-5-fitness-challenge.