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Creekside gets new fitness centre

Gym opens after two-year delay



After over two years of hard work, Whistler local Katie McFetridge has finally opened her dream gym—Altitude Fitness.

"There were a lot of nights when I kind of questioned what I was doing," said McFetridge, who purchased the Gateway Building back in 2016.

The prominent building sits at the corner of Lake Placid Road and Highway 99. McFetridge said that Whistler's trades shortage was a factor in the delay.

"I think that anybody that has done construction in this town could agree that it's not the easiest town to do construction in," she said. "Securing trades can be tough, and once you have one trade delay, it kind of sets off a whole domino effect."

The timeline, however, was also stretched after three condensing units were vandalized for copper in April and a structural issue with the building was discovered.

"I had to replace a whole glass wall upstairs that wasn't properly engineered," McFetridge said.

To help things along, she did some of the work herself, painting the interior of the building.

"We were up there on Christmas Eve painting a 40-foot ceiling on eight levels of scaffolding," recalled McFetridge. "It was fun, because we had a good time doing it. But I would never tackle that again—that's for sure."

So far, the reception to the fitness and wellness centre has been "amazing."

"I love being here and seeing the positivity and just the general good vibes," she said.

After a soft opening on Aug. 2, the gym already has 60 members, and McFetridge said she hopes to grow membership to around 300.

"We're definitely moving in the right trajectory," she said.

At around $1,200 a year for membership (excluding classes), Altitude Fitness isn't cheap, but McFetridge hopes that the extras that the gym offers—such as RFID technology that allows you to access lockers and keep track of your fitness goals, towel service, and new, high-end equipment—will entice people to join.

"I know that we are a little more expensive than the other places in town," she said.

But hopefully people will "see the special touches we offer."

As for classes, Altitude Fitness will offer a mixed martial arts circuit training, aerial yoga ("where you use a hammock to do yoga"), pilates, and spin and TRX classes.

"We're trying to bring some classes that haven't really been done in town yet," said McFetridge.

(Drop-in classes are $16 for members and $20 for non-members.)

Despite its prominent location, new businesses have struggled to gain foothold in the Gateway Building, with several restaurants closing soon after opening.

Most recently, Doc Branigan's closed its doors in 2012—meaning no business has operated out of the building for six years.

Compared with the village, Creekside has struggled in terms of attracting visitors.

But McFetridge said that things appear to be changing with the November 2017 purchase of Franz's Trail, the retail stroll that leads to the Creekside Gondola, by the Zage family.

Based in Singapore, the family has owned a home in Creekside since 2008. They've said publicly they hope to revitalize it with the right mix of businesses. So far, the family has opened a gift shop, called Get the Goods, and McFetridge said that some exciting new businesses will be coming to the area soon.

"I think it's a really exciting time for Creekside," she said. "There's already more hustle and bustle here."

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