The Vancouver Island Mountain Sport Society has been raising funds to help emerging Island-based athletes since the non-profit association was founded in 2003.
Athletes who compete in the mountain sports of alpine, nordic and freestyle skiing, snowboarding, adaptive snow sports, biathlon and mountain biking have been receiving travel grants totaling more than $85,000.
Looking back over the last few years, the society can happily report on the many successes the athletes have achieved.
“We are very proud of all our Vancouver Island area athletes,” said Rick Morson, chair of VIMSS. “These athletes train hard all year long and the grants they receive help them with travel costs to competitions locally, nationally and internationally.”
Where are some of the athletes today? Many who have received funding from VIMSS have achieved national team level status and are representing Canada at international competitions.
One of the first athletes to receive funding support from VIMSS was Mathieu Leduc of Comox who first joined the BC Alpine Ski Team and is now a member of the National Skier Cross Prospect Team.
Fellow Comox athlete Darcy Sharpe has received funding for the past four years and has just joined the Snowboard Slopestyle National Team. Carle Brenneman from Courtenay is on the Snowboardcross National Team and Braydon Luscombe from Duncan is competing on the Para-Alpine National Team.
Max Heard of Duncan and Cassie Sharpe of Comox are both competing on the Freestyle National Development Team and David Kinskofer of Quadra Island is on the Snowboard Slopestyle National Development Team.
Peter Stubbs of Courtenay has also been funded for four years and is a member of the BC Freestyle Provincial Mogul Team.
“I am very thankful for VIMSS supporting me during my competitive ski season with the BC Provincial High Performance Mogul Team for the freestyle season,” says Stubbs. “The sponsorship I have received helps a lot with the many costs of competition and training.”
The initial goal VIMSS set was to help an athlete from Vancouver Island reach the 2010 Winter Olympics and ideally on the podium. While the Games did not see this goal achieved, there is much hope for the 2014 Winter Games.
“There is real possibility that we will see an athlete standing on the podium in Sochi (Russia),” said Don Sharpe, society co-founder and vice-chair for VIMSS. He is also the proud father of Darcy and Cassie Sharpe.
The society recently opened the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre at Mount Washington. The non-profit centre has proven to be a popular location as it provides group accommodation for up to 40 people, full kitchen and dining facilities plus meeting rooms, equipment storage and a fitness centre. It’s a perfect location for a training base in the 3,500-foot alpine, a good place to start an outdoor adventure, or even to host a conference or meeting.
For more information visit VIMountainCentre.com.
The next grant application opportunity is in the fall. All Vancouver Island mountain athletes are invited to apply online.