Sports » Upcoming

Skating club adding synchro team

Open house coming to meadow park sports centre on Sept. 27



A new synchronized skating team at Whistler Skating Club won't be hitting the world level immediately.

But given Canada's proficiency in the sport in recent years, it's not too wild to ponder how some of the skaters in the first-year club might fare a few years down the line.

Club treasurer Robert Risso said the sport is exciting to watch, especially where local interests are involved.

"It's a relatively new division of skating," he said. "It's very competitive, obviously very team-oriented and Canada's done extremely well in it, having won the World Championships a number of times."

Canada won the world championships in Hamilton, Ont. this spring and some local youth had extra reason to cheer on the squad. Several of the team members practiced here in Whistler two winters ago and gave the club a first-hand look at the sport at its highest level.

"We got some kids out there and they saw it and they got kind of juiced up for it," Risso said.

Admitting it's challenging to form a full team together in a smaller community like Whistler, Risso is hopeful that two to four more skaters will be added to the current contingent of eight. Those who sign up will have to possess some skating experience in order to keep pace with one another.

"They get to hang out as a group and they compete as a group," Risso said. "We're hoping it'll really fly and keep some kids skating a little longer than they might have because it's not as singles-oriented and it's not as jump-oriented."

Risso said the goal for the season is to try to get the team into one to two competitions in the Lower Mainland.

Coaches with the club have been taking extra training in order to get prepared for the new offering. It takes talent to teach a skater to do a routine on his or her own, but a little different skill set to teach a group of them to sync up.

Those looking to get involved with the team or any of Whistler Skating Club's offerings for the coming season can come out to the organization's open house this Sunday (Sept. 27) at Meadow Park Sports Centre from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Programs are offered to athletes aged three through 10 and those looking to register can still do so, as programming kicks off on Sept. 29.

Skates and helmets will be available for rent at the open house for any young attendee with some curiosity about the sport.

Risso highlighted the open house date as a draw.

"We have a new Sunday program, which, in part, is why we're offering this open house on Sunday," he said. "It's a new ice time for us. It's giving some more people an opportunity to partake in our programs on a weekend when they may have more time as opposed to those busy after-school days.

"We hope it'll bring in some new people who haven't been able to take advantage of our programs before."