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National Training Centre gala slated

Ullr Event to raise money for freestyle project

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The first days of snow access on our local peaks will also be a time for creating many more great days for freestyle skiers.

A fundraiser for the National Training Centre for Freestyle Skiing is planned for Nov. 25 at the Audain Art Museum. The event is slated to run from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. Attendees will have access to the museum's permanent collection for the first two hours of the fundraiser, which will also feature silent and live auctions.

Those attending are encouraged to dress up in their Viking best — the event will celebrate Ullr, the Norse god of snow.

"You can dress up as a Viking, which is pretty fun," gala chair Jennifer Dunn said.

The event will support the planned moguls site on Catskinner, complete with an airbag site and judges' stand for hosting events.

Dunn noted the gala's main goal is to raise $30,000 to go toward the project's first phase, getting the airbag secured and in place.

"It's a lofty goal," Dunn said.

The club has begun other fundraising efforts, including its family campaign, where it raised $20,000 from current club members and alumni, including 1994 Olympic gold medallist Jean-Luc Brassard.

"It's been amazing to have past freestyle heroes and current families with kids coming up to donate," Dunn said, noting the club is still accepting donations though the website.

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation also previously pledged $300,000 contingent on the club raising a matching amount.

Dunn said there are still a number of options for those looking to help out.

"We've applied for different grants that are out there, but we're still looking for someone that wants to step in for naming rights," she said. "That would include signage at the site, signage on all the trail maps, digital and print, so it's pretty big exposure for any company or individual that's interested in that."

Dunn hopes that with the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the top of mind of many in the community that expanding access to freestyle facilities for local athletes will become a higher priority. Dunn noted that while her son, Sam Cordell, is currently training in Zermatt, Switzerland, he and other B.C. Team athletes need to travel to Apex Mountain Resort for their in-season practice.

"Freestyle skiing is one of the top medal earners for Canada," she said.

Tickets for the gala are $125 up until Oct. 15 or $150 afterwards and can be purchased at www.whistlerblackcombfreestyle.com.

The club is also looking for volunteers and silent auction donations. Anyone who can help is encouraged to contact Dunn at Jennifer@jenniferdunndesigns.ca.

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