The Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society (VIMSS) is a non-profit organization that formed in 2003. The catalyst for its formation was the IOC announcement that Vancouver would be the host city for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. After the initial euphoria, local leaders in sport were left with some profound questions. How to get an athlete from Vancouver Island to the 2010 Games, and ideally on the podium?
The formation of the Society was the first step towards realizing this ambitious goal. VIMSS is made up of representatives from local alpine, nordic, biathlon, freestyle ski and snowboard clubs; the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports; Mount Washington Alpine Resort, mountain biking community, Pacificsport Vancouver Island and members of the community.
One of our mandates is to provide yearly grants to athletes from Vancouver Island (and neighbouring Gulf Islands) who compete in mountain sports on Vancouver Island. These grants are meant to offset the costs associated with regional and national competitions and acquisition of suitable material and educational resources to augment their training. In this way, VIMSS seeks to nurture emerging athletes on the Island and help prepare them for elite national and international competition.
In addition to funding athletes, VIMSS has overseen significant infrastructure projects on land donated by Mount Washington Alpine Resort.
For athletes, the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre is a central hub where they can meet, stay and access a modern gym. In addition, there are offices for coaches and staff, group accommodations and a multipurpose media room to review training runs and host journalists during events. The Mountain Centre also serves as a classroom for school and youth groups, plus provides a community venue in the alpine environment for many other types of groups. The Centre provides low cost access to the wilderness environment, reducing barriers for all segments of the community.
The adjacent Strathcona Provincial Park Outdoor Centre will operate in collaboration with the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre to ensure long-term sustainability. The volunteers of the Strathcona Wilderness Institute will provide information and outdoor education for Park visitors, including courses and workshops on wilderness ethics and ‘leave-no-trace’ principles.
VIMSS believes that these facilities will be valuable and unique assets to the whole of Vancouver Island, and together are a true legacy project for future generations.
If you’re wondering if we did get an athlete to the 2010 Winter Games, in fact we did! Although she wasn’t competing, nordic skier Andrea Lee was a forerunner for the nordic ski events. With many VIMSS funded athletes representing Canada at international events, stay tuned for the progress of Vancouver Island athletes at future Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
For more information on VIMSS and the Mountain Centre, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.