BROM­LEY BASEBOARDING

Whistler Traveller Magazine - - TRAVELLER I CONTENT - STORY BY DAVID BURKE IM­AGES COUR­TESY OF BROM­LEY BASEBOARDING

Pic­ture this: Cana­dian Philippe LeBlanc is lin­ing up against Ital­ian Marco Rossi for the men’s goldmedal fi­nal in Brom­ley Baseboarding at the 2026 Win­ter Olympics. All of the ath­letes’ hard work has come down to this. The ath­letes hun­ker down in the start­ing gate as the an­nouncer revs up the scream­ing fans lin­ing the course. A crescendo of sound rises and the snows­ports world waits in an­tic­i­pa­tion as the elec­tronic beeps count down to the start and then … It’s a scene Roger Soane can well imag­ine, even though Brom­ley Baseboarding (Brom­ley Board­ing for short) is just in its in­fancy. Whistler Olympic Park ( WOP), run by Whistler Sport Lega­cies ( WSL), is the first venue in North America to of­fer the ac­tiv­ity — a mar­riage of old-school to­bog­gan­ing and high-tech, aero­dy­namic sled design — to guests. Soane, WSL pres­i­dent and CEO, is among those who were dis­ap­pointed when the planned launch of WOP’s Brom­ley Board­ing Park in 2014-’15 didn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize, a vic­tim of a chal­leng­ing snow year at the fa­cil­ity, which hosted the Nordic events dur­ing the 2010 Win­ter Olympics and Par­a­lympic Games. But hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the thrill of what its pro­mot­ers are call­ing “the ul­ti­mate slid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence” first-hand, Soane be­lieves Brom­ley Board­ing is des­tined to catch on and is invit­ing those look­ing for a thrilling new ex­pe­ri­ence to give it a try. “The course that we have at Olympic Park is chal­leng­ing and a lot of fun,” Soane says. “I’ve been down the course about 10 times, and I can tell you that by the sec­ond time down, you’ve got most of the skills you need. “These are a lot eas­ier to steer than a to­bog­gan. You can go slowly or fast, and the way you steer is just like a real skele­ton, which is with your feet, and the way you stop is es­sen­tially the hockey stop — you just throw it side­ways and skid to a stop.” The Brom­ley Base­board is the brain­child of Prof. Kris­tan Brom­ley, a four-time Olympic skele­ton racer from the United King­dom. With a PhD and en­gi­neer­ing de­grees in me­chan­i­cal design, ma­te­ri­als and man­u­fac­ture, he’s known as “Dr. Ice” in the U.K. for his ex­per­tise in the dy­nam­ics of skele­ton sleds.

The base­board is de­signed for op­ti­mal per­for­mance on groomed snow. The design, ac­cord­ing to U.K.-based Brom­ley Sports, “cre­ates a low cen­tre of grav­ity, with anti-flip char­ac­ter­is­tics that al­low the board to be highly ma­neu­ver­able and ex­tremely sta­ble … the com­bi­na­tion of front han­dle bar con­trol point, care­fully de­signed 3D curved base, an el­e­vated head-first prone ride pos­ture and par­al­lel run­ners cre­ate an ag­ile board that pro­vides an in­tu­itive and nat­u­ral ride ex­pe­ri­ence and un­par­al­leled fun.” The Brom­ley Board­ing Park at WOP fea­tures a 1,500-me­tre (5,000-foot) run that starts just above the top of the ski jumps. Af­ter their run, par­tic­i­pants slide grace­fully down to the base of the jumps and ride WOP’s dou­ble chair­lift back to the start. Hav­ing wit­nessed the rapid rise of the likes of ski cross and snow­board cross to Olympic sta­tus, Soane be­lieves Brom­ley Board­ing has the po­ten­tial to do the same. “Their whole idea is to build this into a com­pet­i­tive sport, whether it would be rac­ing side-by-side like ski cross or some­thing else,” he says. “It sort of lends it­self to side-by-side rac­ing. Like ski cross, you don’t re­ally need a track.” Weather per­mit­ting, WOP plans to have the park open daily dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son and also of­fer Brom­ley Board­ing on week­ends af­ter that.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit whistler­sportle­ga­cies.com or base­board­ing­whistler.com.

PHOTO JOERN RO­HDE

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