Once upon a time - actually 1984 - the Creekside Pumphouse was Whistler's only gym. The village was a lot smaller and under construction, and the Meadow Park Sports Centre was more than a decade away.
The gym operated as the Pumphouse, before being purchased by new owners in 1991, who changed the name to the Whistler Creek Athletic Club. It was sold again 11 years later, but the facility went into decline in recent years and was placed in receivership. This past summer the facility was taken over by Kinesiologists.ca and placed under the management of James Wendland, who reinvested in floors, paint, new cardio machines and other new equipment. Since then, he has increased membership from just 118 paying members to 556 members.
"There were a lot of locals waiting to hear that it's been cleaned up again, and it looks really good," said Wendland. "This has always been the place where people went to work out, it was a gym and it was run like a gym for locals to train and improve for sports and skiing. There's no nightclub aspect to it, people come here and they work out."
The facility has also been the home base for several high performance athletes over the years, including World Cup skiers and snowboarders. In the past week the gym has been the home base to nine World Cup bobsleigh teams here for this weekend's World Cup races, as well as skeleton athletes - an eye-opener for other locals using the facility.
"I'm six-two and 250 pounds and I felt like a small person," said Wendland. "A couple guys were literally as wide as the doorway. People definitely have a lot more respect for the sport after seeing these guys and girls work out."
Over the next few weeks Wendland is celebrating the facility's 25th anniversary. This weekend, Feb. 6-8, the athletic club is hosting part of the 17th annual Wellness Show, with demonstrations, exhibitors, and other information. The following weekend Wendland and his wife will be thanking their customers with baked goods, while also offering new specials on memberships and lower drop-in fees for the gym.
"I think people are impressed when they see all the work that we've done, and all the new machines we have," said Wendland. "We've got 4,000 square feet of space, which is similar to the gym at Meadow Park but it's spread out over three floors."