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Changes down the road for Whistler Gymnastics

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Whistler Gymnastics will once again be hosting a table at the annual Strut Your Stuff Community Registration Fair to take final registration from those who pre-registered in the spring. If any spaces are available after registration, the club will open those spaces up to the general public.

With more than 200 kids in the program, and a waiting list of over 50 names, the club has already reached its capacity.

"We want to be able to take more kids, but we just don’t have the ability to do that right now," said Tami Ross, program director for Whistler Gymnastics. "We’d like to include everybody who wants to take part, and offer all kinds of different programs, but like other user groups we are fighting for more time and space.

Whistler Gymnastics currently runs out of the gym at Myrtle Philip Community School on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. They are still waiting to hear whether they will stay at Myrtle Philip or be relocated to the new school gym at Spring Creek.

Every day the club has to set up and take down its equipment for each session, which is hard on the equipment, the coaches and the kids who lose training time, said Ross.

It also limits the club’s ability to host meets, birthday parties, more gymnastics programs, and other fundraising activities, as well as to provide clinics for other sport groups, including freestyle skiers, alpine skiers, and snowboarders.

The club also wants to expand its involvement with the high school gymnastics team, and offer more programs for their advanced boys.

. Recently the club entered into a partnership with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club to provide gymnastics training to competitive skiers every week, with a rotating core of coaches.

"This will help them to develop balance, co-ordination, strength, power and endurance in their off-season," explains Ross. "A lot of our gymnasts are already skiing with the club, and doing really well.

"It’s a huge vote of confidence for Whistler Gymnastics from the ski club. They’ve been awesome to work with."

In order to accommodate the skiers, Whistler Gymnastics will run two hours later in the evening, until 10 p.m., one day a week. "It was the only place we could fit them in," said Ross.

Sheila Mozes, the founder of Whistler Gymnastics and an active member of the board, said: "these partnerships between different organizations are the way to go.

"Instead of looking at sports as separate entities, we’re starting to look at the things sports have in common, and ultimately it’s better for the kids, and for the organizations as well. I think (the partnership with the WMSC) is going to work out great."

To solve their facility issues and open the club up to more gymnasts, the club has created a new facility committee that is looking into the possibility of opening a permanent, full-time gymnastics facility in Whistler.

Winning the Olympics gave the facility committee a boost, said Ross, but she said the club was going ahead with its search for a permanent location regardless of what happened with the Olympics.

"It definitely helps that the Olympics are coming to Whistler, because this is a facility that can be used by skiers and snowboarders as well as our gymnasts, and that could make it easier for us," said Ross.

"We’ve already worked with the national freestyle team and the national snowboard team, and we hosted a summer program for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club this summer that went really well with their dryland training. These groups almost want this facility even more than we do."

The possibility of attaching the club to one of the Olympic facilities that is being planned for Whistler for 2010 is being considered, she said.

"We’ll have to see what happens. Our facility committee is working on a survey to ask all the other user groups that might be interested in having time and space in the gym facility, and things look good.

"There’s no question that we’re going to find a place one of these days, the more groups we get on board, the better it’s going to be," said Ross.

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