PacificSport opens doors to new high performance centre 

Training centre, equipment are Olympic and Paralympic legacy

High performance athletes living in or visiting Whistler have a new place to go for training and rehabilitation.

In July, PacificSport Sea to Sky opened the doors to a new gym and training centre located on the ground floor of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC). The ski club gym was recently renovated, almost doubling the square footage of the training area. As well, all of the old gear has been donated to First Nations, and replaced with state-of-the-art equipment, provided at cost by Hammer Strength, a PacificSport partner and sponsor.

According to Tami Mitchell, Regional Co-ordinator of PacificSport Sea to Sky, the new PacificSport Performance Centre (PPC) has already been used by the national snowboard team, the B.C. Alpine Ski Team, the B.C. Alpine development team, and members of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team.

“Everybody is impressed with the centre because it’s all new, high-end equipment, it’s quiet, and the trainers can really focus on their athletes,” she said. “It’s great to see the younger community level athletes working out in the same space as national level athletes, it’s a great learning environment.

“We are also able to provide more life services programs, like media training and personal sponsorship, now that we are in partnership with the WMSC.”

Before the PPC opened at the ski club, PacificSport Sea to Sky Centre was based at Meadow Park. Local and visiting athletes would use the same gym as the public, and were limited to groups of six working with their trainers. The arrangement was problematic for both the teams and members of the public as they worked around each other.

The PPC is dedicated to athletes with national programs, PacificSport registered athletes, and WMSC athletes.

According to Nigel Cooper, program director for the WMSC, the gym is a welcome addition.

“As we ramp up with our fall programming the new gym will be abuzz with young racers learning the ropes of all the apparatus,” he said. “One of the primary goals of the project in the beginning was to create a community of grass roots athletes and professionals alike, sharing space to develop champions. We are on our way and grateful to our partner, PacificSport, for funding the bulk of this project .”

High performance athletes and teams will work with national team staff, local trainers, and resident trainer Cindy Thomson, PacificSport’s strength and conditioning coach.

“We are very excited to be working with community level and all the way up to Olympic and Paralympic athletes,” said Thomson. “It’s a reflection of one of PacificSports Missions (in creating) Canada’s first integrated national, provincial, and regional sport performance network.”

Registered athletes will also be able to use the equipment on their own, and during regular hours PacificSport staff will be available to provide assistance.

During the summer the PPC is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., although trainers are given access codes if they need to access the gym with their athletes before or after hours. The centre will be open longer once school starts again, and will be open earlier in the morning and later at night.

In addition to the weight training and aerobic equipment, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club also has a room upstairs for meetings and fitness assessments. PacificSport has also provided audio-visual equipment for video-based performance analysis.

That space is also used to present programs to the community, and host a wide variety of experts on everything from nutrition to financial planning for athletes.

PacificSport Sea to Sky Centre will be based out of the PPC for the next two years before moving into the athlete centre in the athletes’ village. The equipment will remain behind as a legacy for the ski club and visiting ski teams.

The total cost of the renovation and equipment was $175,000, with funding from Canadian Sport Centre Pacific, PacificSport, Own the Podium, 2010 Legacies Now and the Government of B.C.   PacificSport is itself a division of Sport B.C., which is the provincial agency of Sport Canada.

Currently, PacificSport Sea to Sky provides resources to 105 registered athletes, with a roster that’s growing steadily with the arrival of athletes training for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Recent additions to the Sea to Sky region include Nordic and sliding athletes who have moved to Whistler for the 2007 opening of the Whistler Nordic Centre in the Callaghan Valley and the sliding centre on Blackcomb.

There will be an official opening of the PacificSport Performance Centre in September where the public will be able to tour the facilities.

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