New executive director to boost WMSC 

Former World Cup coach Mark Tilston has some ideas for club

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Mountain topper Mark Tilston is the new executive director of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.
  • Photo by Dan Falloon
  • Mountain topper Mark Tilston is the new executive director of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.

Great Britain. Spain. Now, Whistler.

Mark Tilston has World Cup and Europa Cup coaching experience with the first two. He's bringing it right here to Whistler as the Whistler Mountain Ski Club's new executive director. Tilston officially took over the duties on May 19.

Two weeks in, Tilston, who is originally from Glasgow, has started to take stock of where the club is and where he'd like it to be.

"What attracted me was the passion for ski racing in and around the club," he said. "That has become more and more apparent since I've been here. There's great people, great things in place and great things happening. There's potential for more growth."

He's coached athletes who perform at the world's most competitive races, and like them, Tilston has made the progression himself from club level to provincial level to the peak.

"It's given me the full perspective of 'What are we aiming for in Whistler?' (It's) the World Cup racers and World Cup coaches that we want to develop," he said. "What does that path look like? What does that long-term plan look like?

"For me, that long-term plan has to be about coach and athlete."

For the athlete, Tilston takes inspiration from legendary Austrian ski racer Hermann Maier, a former World Cup and Olympic champion. Though Whistler is a place where many people make physical activity a part of their lifestyles, Tilston still feels athletic conditioning could be improved.

"He really helped to raise the game of skiing and the professionalism of athletic preparation," he said. "Since he was around, skiing has come... leaps and bounds in athletic preparation, so that's somewhere we can improve as well.

"Firstly, what we do is deliver ski racing programs and the first step is to deliver them better," he said. "I don't plan to reinvent the wheel, first off. There are some really good things happening and I think a bit of leadership and coordination will help it be more thorough."

In addition to his coaching experience, Tilston has administrative experience as the performance director for Snowsport GB from 2003 to 2006. He acknowledged that role came relatively early in his career and it may not have been the right time for him to take it on, but with more worldly experience under his belt, feels he's ready to tackle administration again.

Tilston is the first permanent executive director the club has had since Nigel Loring moved eastward to become the president and CEO of the Alberta Alpine Ski Association last summer. Bob Armstrong served as interim executive director for the 2014-15 season.


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