Eight Vancouver Island athletes who compete in mountain sports have been awarded travel grants by the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society (VIMSS) to assist them with training and competition expenses for the upcoming season.
VIMSS is a not-for-profit association and one of its goals is to raises funds for emerging amateur athletes who compete in the mountain sports of alpine, Nordic and freestyle skiing, snowboarding, adaptive snow sports, biathlon and mountain biking. Since 2003, the society has raised over $80,000 to award to athletes with a variety of fundraising initiatives.
An example of the athletes funded this year is Nordic skier Alex Stapft who requested assistance in order to qualify for the 2012 Provincial Championships in Prince George and the National Championships in Callaghan Valley, B.C.
He’s the captain of his team despite many of his teammates being older than him, and in addition to training, competing and helping with his club’s fundraising, he “helps little kids with race prep and coaches racers and people interested in the sport who would like to stay with it and race when they are older. “
Two Comox Valley athletes received travel grants:
• Thomas Bergvinson (snowboard) of Courtenay. The 13-year-old Bergvinson had four podium finishes (one gold and three silver) in regional competitions last season. He credits his other activities (wakeboarding, trampoline and skateboarding) as contributing to his successes.
• Keegan McKooey (alpine ski) of Cumberland. Last season the 13-year-old McKooey had strong finishes against competitors two or more years older than her, often finishing in the top third of the competition. An active volunteer in her community, she strives to be a role model for younger athletes in the club.
Others receiving grants included Kole Harle (alpine ski) Campbell River, Max Heard (freestyle ski) Duncan, Riley Heard (freestyle ski) Duncan, Alec Stapff (Nordic ski) Campbell River, Avalon Wastenays (Nordic ski) Campbell River, and Jamie Wastenays (Nordic ski) Campbell River.
“All funds raised help these dedicated athletes to offset the travel and competition costs that are the price of success,” said VIMSS chair Karen Bonell. “We wish all of the Vancouver Island athletes success in their competitions and training this season and we thank our sponsors and supporters who continue to support our fundraising efforts.”
VIMSS also is responsible for operating the newly constructed Vancouver Island Mountain Centre at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, located at the end of Nordic Road across from Raven Lodge and Strathcona Park’s Paradise Meadows.
The non-profit centre provides group accommodation for up to 40 people, full kitchen and dining facilities plus meeting rooms and a fitness centre. It’s a perfect location to start your outdoor adventure, host your meeting or use as a training base in the 3,500-foot alpine. Surf to VIMountainCentre.com for additional information.
– Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society