Whistler (BC), Canada – Whistler Blackcomb has signed an agreement with the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club (WBFSC) and the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) to build a national training center for freestyle skiing on Blackcomb Mountain. The facility will consist of a permanent mogul and airbag training area and event site, built to International Ski Federation (FIS) specifications.
The new training facility will enhance the WBFSC’s existing program, helping to foster the development of freestyle ski athletes and future Olympians in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.
“We are excited about this project and what it could mean for the sport of freestyle skiing in Whistler,” says Dave Brownlie, President and CEO of Whistler Blackcomb. “Whistler Blackcomb prides itself on being a training ground for athletes at every level. This new training center, combined with the fact Whistler Blackcomb boasts one of the longest ski seasons in North America, will attract regional, provincial, national and international teams to come and train at the world-class facilities available here.”
The new training center will be located on the right side of the upper pitch of Catskinner run. It will be adjacent to Whistler Blackcomb’s Nintendo Terrain Park, creating an optimal freestyle skiing training center on Blackcomb Mountain. The facility will be used by a wide user group, including mogul, park and pipe skiers.The airbag site can also be used by other disciplines such as snowboarding and ski cross athletes to safely train aerial skills and build acrobatic literacy.
“The plan falls into CFSA’s strategic vision for Whistler as a turnkey high performance training and event hosting center,” says Bruce Robinson, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. “The proposed mogul site and airbag facility on Blackcomb Mountain will be highly flexible to serve all levels of athletes, from club to elite level.”
The facility will also be able to host a wide range of events, from regional to national championships, to World Cup events.
“Having a national training center right here at home will greatly enhance our program and ensure we have a consistent place to train all winter long,” says Jeff Fairbairn, Head Coach at the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club. “It will attract teams from across the country as well as international skiers, which will further inspire our young skiers to follow their dreams.”
The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation is supporting the project as the founding sponsor with a donation of C$300,000. Each year the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation makes a considerable donation to a legacy project in the Sea To Sky Corridor. The funds to support the freestyle skiing training facility on Blackcomb Mountain were sourced from Founders Pass funds for 2015-16.
“Having a training center like this on the West Coast will be extremely beneficial to the development of young athletes,” says Mei McCurdy, Executive Director of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. “We hope our contribution as the founding supporter will be the catalyst for raising the funds to complete this amazing legacy project and benefit our youth and future generations for years to come.”
Construction of the facility is expected to begin next summer with additional fundraising efforts currently underway to help raise the necessary money for the project. The WBFSC is looking for additional sponsors or private donors interested in supporting the project in return for long-term naming rights at Whistler Blackcomb and the association of helping to foster future Olympians from the strong talent pool in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.
“It is critical we all work to together to raise the funds necessary to make this legacy project a reality and build on the tremendous success of our Canadian Freestyle athletes at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games,” says Roger Soane, President & CEO at Whistler Sport Legacies. Whistler Sport Legacies is encouraged to see another national training center in Whistler, positioning Freestyle alongside other Whistler Legacy sports. This facility will move Freestyle closer to completing their complement of on-snow training and competition facilities in Whistler.”