The merger of Squamish’s two Nordic sports clubs should provide a more seamless entry into the sports for all involved, says the chair of the newly constituted board.
The Callaghan Winter Sports Club (CWSC) and Squamish Nordic Ski Club (SNSC) voted to merge at a meeting on Saturday (Oct. 19), when a 10-member board of directors evenly split between the two clubs was named. Clayton Whitman, chair of the new board, on Monday (Oct. 21) said the move means families wishing to participate in programs run by the two clubs will have to pay only one club membership fee.
For their first six years in existence, CWSC has provided training for adult cross-country skiers and for both kids’ and adults’ biathlon. It has the sanctioning of both Biathlon Canada and Ski Jumping Canada. SNSC primarily runs cross-country ski programs for youngsters, with the sanctioning of Cross Country Canada.
With the merger, “If you want to be part of a kids’ program, you take a program delivered by the Squamish Nordics and for the biathlon and adult programs delivered by Callaghan Winter Sports, you only have to join one club,” Whitman said.
It has taken a couple years of discussions to reach this point, Whitman said.
“We had hoped to be there already a while ago, but once we have an official club sanctioned, it’s going to make a world of difference in terms of making it easier for people to get into Nordic sports,” he said. “There’s the bigger volunteer base, and if you only need one board of directors instead of two, you can always do more.”
Whitman said he’s been told that one of the barriers to such a move was that Cross Country B.C. had been reluctant to sanction a club that offers more than just cross-country skiing. But Georgia Manhard, a director with Cross Country B.C., told The Chief there’s no such requirement — at least not now.
“We have a club in good standing there. They can expand or make partnerships as they choose,” Manhard said.
Heather Campbell, one of the new board members who came from the SNSC, said club officials have reached an understanding about with CCBC officials over the past couple of years about the unique needs of the local club.
“I think CCBC recognizes that Squamish has different needs than other clubs across B.C. Certainly our idea is that we want to serve as an entry point to a variety of Nordic sports in the corridor,” Campbell said.
“We spoke to CCBC last year and they were completely understanding of the need for this sort of model.”
Whitman said once the two clubs become one legal entity, the board and membership may want to consider some new branding.
“Down the road, if the members want to change the name or the identity of the club, they can do that,” he said.
In addition to Whitman and Campbell, the board includes Muff Hackett (secretary), Philip Kaiser (treasurer), Lynn Ayers, Jim Bowers, Vicki Haberl, Todd Pope, Rick Smith and Toran Savjord.