Ski Went­worth un­veils new club­house

New build­ing boasts me­dia cen­tre and a warm place for skiers to pre­pare be­fore hit­ting the slopes

The News (New Glasgow) - - MARITIME LIFE - BY FRAM DIN­SHAW

Gre­gor Byrne was just 16 when he strapped on skis for the first time.

Forty years later, he joined hun­dreds of fel­low skiers to un­veil the new Went­worth Ski Rac­ing Club’s head­quar­ters Satur­day — and was nearly stam­peded by a crowd of his ea­ger stu­dents.

“For us it’s a touch­stone for the kids, a place they can call home,” said Byrne, now a ski race coach. “The kids feel like they’re part of some­thing big­ger within these four walls and it helps us, in the de­vel­op­ment of the ath­letes. It’s peo­ple first and skiers and ski rac­ers se­cond.”

The new club­house will al­low skiers to com­plete their warm-ups in­side be­fore hit­ting the slopes.

In­struc­tors can use both TVs and com­put­ers in­side the build­ing as teach­ing aids for stu­dents, for ex­am­ple, by run­ning videos of proper tech­niques. The coaches them­selves also have their own meet­ing room.

For Byrne, it was a wel­come up­grade from their old head­quar­ters that the Went­worth Ski Rac­ing Club sim­ply out­grew.

He said the club presently had 112 ded­i­cated ski rac­ers and about 250 mem­bers in to­tal, who visit Ski Went­worth’s slopes just off Hwy 4.

Went­worth mem­bers have skied for Canada for the Tro­feo Topolino con­test in Italy and also rep­re­sented their club in the Whistler Cup. One other ath­lete raced in the Alpine World Cup.

“Most of our World Cup ski rac­ers come out of On­tario — money drives ski races,” said Byrne. “We’re rac­ing against peo­ple with deeper pock­ets some­times, but we’re do­ing re­ally well.”

What ul­ti­mately makes a good skier is not deep pock­ets but con­stant prac­tis­ing.

Un­der the watch of Byrne and his col­leagues, a new gen­er­a­tion of Nova Sco­tian ath­letes is gain­ing con­fi­dence by prac­tis­ing on the slopes of Ski Went­worth.

One young skier is 16-year-old Emily Todd from Hal­i­fax, who will be com­pet­ing at the Canada Games in Red Deer, Alta., Feb. 19 to March 3.

The ski­ing it­self will be at the Nakiska Ski Area, a re­sort sim­i­lar to Went­worth, in the foothills of the Rock­ies.

“I hope to achieve top 10,” said Todd. “I think it’ll be re­ally good for the club and will give us a lot of me­dia cov­er­age, be­cause Nova Sco­tia has not won a lot of medals in ski­ing.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the club, visit http://went­worthrac­ing.com/.

FRAM DIN­SHAW/SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Emily Todd is off to the Canada Games in Al­berta next month. The 16-year-old skier is im­pressed with her club’s new home, which was opened at Ski Went­worth on Satur­day.

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