Whistler Sliding Centre with earliest Season Start since 2010 - Canadian and international Teams training on Ice from September onwards

Whistler, BC: The Whistler Sliding Centre is having its earliest start into winter since the Olympic season in 2010, with the first athletes sliding on ice as early as September 25 this year. Only two weeks after the end of the summer bobsleigh season, the seven-day process of ice making started on September 18 to prepare the training surface for Canada’s National Team and international athletes. The sliding season 2017/2018 will go until April 1, 2018, with the first months being reserved exclusively for athlete training and competitions. Public bobsleigh and skeleton will start on December 16.

“Our national squad asked us if we can get them on ice a few weeks earlier than usual in this Olympic year”, explains Tracy Seitz, Managing Director of the Whistler Sliding Centre. “It was a very quick turnover from summer to winter, but our crew worked incredibly hard to prepare the track and make the ice. We are excited that we can provide a bit of a training advantage to our athletes on their way to PyeongChang 2018. Also international teams have booked ice time on our track to prepare for the Olympic Games.”

National team skeleton athlete Jane Channell, who was born and raised in North Vancouver, is excited about the advantage of getting on home ice in September: “Being able to get back on ice in Whistler so early in the season is amazing. Being familiar with the track, having some of the best ice in the world available to us and not having to worry about travel and time change means that we will be able to truly focus on the fundamentals of driving, form and equipment testing. This is especially important in this Olympic year, to maximize time on ice and to ensure Canada captures the maximum amount of spots for the team heading to South Korea.”

Aside from its 10th anniversary, the Whistler Sliding Centre will see many highlights this winter. On November 24-25, 2017, the track will be hosting the IBSF World Cup Bobsleigh & Skeleton, which will bring the world’s best athletes to Whistler on their way to the Olympic Winter Games. Excitement for the Games is growing on Whistler’s track especially because some of its ‘legacy babies’, sliding talents such as lugers Reid Watts, Matt Riddle and Adam Shippit that learned their sport at the Olympic venue after the 2010 Games, have chances to qualify for the 2018 Olympic team. Should they make it to South Korea, they would even technically be sliding on ‘home ice’, as a group of Whistler’s track workers has been hired to help with ice preparation for the Olympics. Throughout the season, children and youth who want to try sliding sports will have the opportunity to participate in introductory and development programs.