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PSS snow and bike academy pitched

Commitment from 16 students required for winter 2016 start



Athletics is certainly the main focus of a proposed skiing, snowboarding and biking academy at Pemberton Secondary School (PSS).

But Daryl Treadway, the PSS teacher behind the Sea to Sky Ski, Board and Bike Academy, is looking to build beyond just the athletic skills necessary to further a career on the mountains.

In addition to teaching, Treadway has worn many different hats throughout his career as a sponsored adventure athlete, ski guide and writer for numerous ski and snowmobile publications. He's looking to incorporate all of those skills into the academy for students in Grades 11 and 12, which would start up for PSS's second semester next year.

"The academy came as a result of me spending about 10 years pursuing my dreams of being a professional skier in the Whistler area," he said, noting he was a freeskier. "If I was coming out of high school and wanted to get into the ski, snowboard, bike industry, what would the certifications be? What would the training be? What would the experience be to come out with a plethora of options to pursue?"

Treadway noted his thoughts were a "pipe dream" until the school district put out a call for academy pitches.

"(When)l I started actually talking about it with people, then they said I should try to pursue (it)," he said.

From there, he approached Whistler Blackcomb, which has offered its services at cost and has compiled a program for students.

The first nine weeks of the session will focus on skiing and snowboarding while the second nine weeks will turn to biking. Pupils will be on mountain at Whistler Blackcomb twice a week for skiing and snowboarding, and on their bikes three times a week after that, with two of those being instruction days and one being conditioning.

In terms of skiing, students will learn everything from racing to slopestyle to backcountry while also receiving instructor certification. The biking portion will take place in Pemberton to take advantage of the earlier melt and will cover cross-country, downhill, jumps, BMX and road riding.

Students will receive human performance, physical education and English credits as part of the academy.

"The English credit would be looking at a lot of resumé writing, proposal writing, interviewing, writing for magazines," he said. "It will also be combined with the traditional style so they're not missing out on anything."

Treadway explained students who sign up don't need to be superstar athletes, but should come in with "intermediate skills" to make instruction fair for all.

"The ratio is one to eight for the instructor to the group," he said. "If there's a really weak person, it would slow the whole group down."

The first information session up in Pemberton had a dozen attendees in total, Treadway said. An information evening in Whistler is slated for Tuesday, June 2 at Myrtle Philip Community School at 6 p.m.

"We're looking for more student involvement from both the Whistler and Pemberton area," he said.

The minimum number of students required is 16 with a cap of 24. Treadway said initial cost estimates, which would be $1,350 plus a $300 staffing offset fee for the year, are based on a full program and will increase if that number is not met.

There will also be two sponsored positions into the program with a number of factors, including financial need, being considered.

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