The Whistler Mountain Ski Club may be one of Canada’s best bets to produce future Olympians.
"It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we have a number of Whistler Mountain Ski Club athletes on the Canadian team for the 2010 Olympics," said club president Tony Holler, whose four sons are all or have been ski club competitors.
"People are going to start to realize the quality of skier that we put out from this club."
Mike Janyk and Manuel Osborne-Paradis, both club alums, are at the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Italy.
Osborne-Paradis was a respectable 13th in the downhill and 20 th in the Super-G. Janyk will race the slalom on Saturday. Right now he is ranked 22 nd in the world in that discipline.
Holler expects Osborne-Paradis, Janyk and others will be in their prime when 2010 rolls around.
Though it had humble beginnings the WMSC now consistently provides up to 50 per cent of the B.C. Alpine Ski Team and up to five members on the national team, which averages about 19 competitors.
Kids join when they are 11 or older and train and race in age-related groupings. As they grow older they will start to train Thursday through Sunday, to compete and follow their dream.
Just glance at the "Wall of Fame" inside the ample two-story clubhouse nestled in Creekside just a stone’s throw away from the bottom of the Dave Murray Downhill – the site of the alpine events for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Janyk’s confident smile beams back from his team picture as does Osborne-Paradis’. A host of others are there too.
Then there is Rob Boyd — a Canadian hero who won the World Cup Downhill in 1989 in his hometown of Whistler, sending the resort into hysterics of happiness. Indeed his win was the catalyst to the $700,00 fundraising effort that produced today’s clubhouse, replacing the portable the rambunctious skiers gathered in, which was slapped up against the town’s original church.
Boyd coached for the club until 2004 when he joined the national ski organization, Alpine Canada Alpin, to help Canadian female skiers reach for the podium.
Part of the key to the WMSC’s success is its desire to support and help every kid who skis, not just the ones who win.
"Obviously part of our mandate is getting people on the podium there is no question about that," said Holler, adding that it takes scores of parents to volunteer at every level to keep up the club’s successful track record.