tennis club 516 

Creekside tennis club revitalizes for 10th season By Chris Woodall The "pop" of tennis ball on racquet, and the squeak of tennis shoes on the court is music to the tennis devotee's ear. There's so much to do in Whistler's green season that in its 10th year the Whistler Valley Tennis Club has to compete for members with another tennis club and a valley full of golf courses. At one point this year, however, the WVTC had been worried its future was in doubt. The club leases its site on the edge of Nita Lake in Whistler's Creekside from John Taylor, who had been negotiating with Intrawest to buy the land. That has fallen through. Now that Intrawest has declared its development plans, it also shelved any plans to buy, much less develop, the tennis club lands. As a result, the club can forge ahead with ambitious plans for the 1998 tennis season. The season runs from May to the end of October. It's never been cheaper to play. "Last year we drastically cut our season's fees to $99 including GST," says John Konig, club president. "There are no court fees after that, so it works out to about $4 a week for unlimited court time." WVTC facilities include five courts and use of two sand volleyball courts. Lights allow play until 9 p.m. There are about 100 members of the club, although that has been as high as 250 members in the club's heyday, Konig says. The club looks to renewed development in Creekside to be a source of fresh members. It also looks to its youth. Club pro Lubos Dostal began a youth program in Myrtle Philip Elementary School last year and will continue the program this year. "The idea is to encourage young players," Konig says. "We'll also have regular youth clinics." Youth (aged 17 and under) play for free as long as one parent joins, making the $99 fee an even better deal. The club is casual, allowing tennis fiends to play in any attire as long as they wear proper tennis shoes, Konig says. The lakeside setting includes some of Whistler's oldest buildings between the courts and the train station. The club began officially in 1988 out of Taylor's love for the game. "He's in his mid-70s now and is still an active player with the Vancouver Lawn and Tennis Club," Konig says. "He continues to participate in our tourneys." The WVTC may be just the thing for people who like things congenial and simple. "This club is the way Whistler was: it's small, it's friendly, it's a good place to meet your neighbours or the people who've just moved in," Konig says. New this year is joint membership with the Whistler Racquet and Golf Resort at the other end of town. Konig hopes to establish an inter-club league between the two Whistler clubs, perhaps including the Squamish tennis club and Whistler's Delta Resort tennis players if the hotel facility goes into club mode. By working together, the two clubs can get discounts at Whistler Village Sports for its joint membership and help promote each other's events. "One of our strengths as a club is we offer a good social round robin tennis," Konig says. "Everyone plays everyone. It's fun tennis and we even have the barbecues going." Having a pub right next door helps, too. "We're great supporters of Hoz's," Konig says of after-game life on the deck. "The Farmer's Almanac is predicting a great summer," Konig says. Tournaments set for this year begin with the doubles one-day tournament and open house, May 9-10, including an afternoon barbecue. Other tournaments follow monthly.

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