Ski with the stars 

Ski legends come forward for WMSC fund-raiser

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club is offering people the opportunity to help the ski club fees down by skiing with some of the biggest legends in Canadian ski racing.

Among the skiers that have volunteered their time this year to help out with the VIP Ski Day are six-time World Cup medalist Rob Boyd, Freeride Team founder Michel Beaudry, Olympian Dee Dee Haight-Arn, national team veterans Chris Kent and Robin McLeish, and Dave Murray Ski Camp coaches Paul Venner, Tom Prochaska, John Kindree.

"We could just do a fund-raiser, but we’d rather use this format," says Al Whitney, director of sponsorship for the club. "Instead of asking people for money, we’d rather give them a great experience.

"We’re doing something the club already does very well, and that is to provide a day on the mountain that is fun and informative, the same kind of day we provide to our skiers every day."

This is the 10th year that the WMSC has offered VIP Ski Day to the public, and while a number of the regular skiers are away at the Olympics this year, Whitney says there are no shortage of skiers out there who are willing to take part in this kind of a fund-raiser.

"These skiers are giving up their day for a cause they support, because the reality is that somebody did it for them way back when. It’s about giving back to the sport."

The money raised will go towards keeping club fees as low as possible for participants, both to encourage kids to join, and to increase the level of competition within the club.

"The goal of the club and this fund-raiser is to provide opportunities for kids to participate more easily in competitive skiing," says Whitney.

"We have solid knowledge that we’re not going to get kids on an international podium, or even a national podium, unless we can lower financial barriers. If we can’t make our programs cheaper, we’re going to lose families."

According to FIS Head Coach Brett MacFarlane, one of the organizers of the fundraiser, the VIP Day also helps to increase participation in the sport. "The more people who come out and see what it’s all about, the better it is for our sport. Skiing with someone like Rob Boyd who’s getting more and more into the sport over the years since he retired from World Cup racing, can really put it into perspective. Why we do it, and why we should support it in the future."

This year will also feature Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly and Doug Forseth, the managing director of Whistler-Backcomb. O’Reilly will take guests on an Olympic tour of the mountain, and Forseth will take guests on an operational tour.

You can participate on Feb. 22, Feb. 23, or both days.

Each day starts with a continental breakfast and early loading up to the hill. All participants get a lunch voucher, apres beverages, demos, access to racing gates, videos of their skiing, photos, a lift ticket for the day, opportunities to win prizes, and a ticket to a banquet at the Westin Resort and Spa.

The cost is $250 per person for one day or $400 for both days and most of the ticket price is tax deductible through Alpine Canada Alpin.

For more information, or to register for VIP day, contact the Whistler Mountain Ski Club at 604-932-4644.

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