Pleased as punch: Whitewater Ski Team enjoying popularity

Outgoing president of Whitewater Ski Team thrilled with enrolment.

Tracy Punchard has overseen significant growth during her five years as president of the Whitewater Ski Team.

Tracy Punchard is ready to pass the torch.

The president of the Whitewater Ski Team will end her five-year tenure this spring once the season is done. She’s leaving the team in a much better place than it was when she started.

“We’re really pleased with that because every other ski team in the province and pretty much the country is experiencing declining enrolment, and we just keep growing,” said Punchard, who will hand the reins to successor John Van Der Holt.

The alpine race team, which includes athletes ages five to 18, has experienced significant growth under Punchard. Whitewater didn’t have more than 40 skiers on the team between 2001 to 2008. Enrolment began to improve in 2009 and broke 100 in 2014, according to Punchard.

This year’s team includes 129 athletes, six of whom just returned from the BC Winter Games in Penticton.

Punchard believes a few factors have added up to the team’s enrolment growth.

The blue jackets dotting the slopes, for example, have done their part. Punchard put an emphasis on branding to keep the team visible, a move that appears to have paid off.

“They stand out,” she said. “Everybody knows who the Whitewater Ski Team is and the younger kids see these older kids with the jackets and say, ‘I want to be there, I want to be like that.'”

Punchard, who worked to build the team’s business relationships, helped facilitate a deal between the team and Whitewater Ski Resort to construct a yurt near the resort’s lodge. That’s given her athletes a place to gather, as well as a venue to interact with parents. “They really build that team camaraderie there. It becomes like a social club there,” she said.

Punchard said she’s relieved to be leaving the job. As the team has grown, so has her workload.

“The challenge now that I’ve been working on this last year and I’ll hand over to John will be really I think at an administrative level,” said Punchard. “How to manage such growth and such a large team, streamlining all the administration.”

Punchard, an English instructor at Selkirk College, plans to continue helping out with the team. Her children, Oso and Coda, are skiers in the program and her husband coaches.

“[John’s] got work ahead of him,” she said with a laugh.

Just Posted

Kootenay Lake’s first marine waste pump-out opens

Sewage facility is located at the Prestige marina

Nelson Leafs trade goalie Hunter Young to Rockies

Nelson will have an all-new duo between the pipes next season

Mishap with deer sends biker to hospital

Accident Thursday morning near Slocan Park

RCMP renew request for help finding missing Nakusp man

Christopher Sanford was reported missing Aug. 5

Car rolls down Nelson highway embankment, driver injured

Vehicle landed beside the Rosemont pedestrian trail

Fashion Fridays: How to dress and feel powerful

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

B.C. daycare operator denies negligence in death of ‘Baby Mac’

Infant died in early 2017 after biting an electrical cord, according to a lawsuit filed by his mom

Bob Lenarduzzi out as Vancouver Whitecaps president

MLS team is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings

BC SPCA reopens animal cruelty investigation at Abbotsford pig farm

Additional alleged footage released from Excelsior Hog Farm sparks new investigation

Donor upset no one noticed B.C. school’s sculpture had been missing for a year

Agassiz’s Fraser River Lodge owner baffled how theft went undetected

Purple fentanyl among items seized in B.C. drug bust

Youth being recruited as drivers for more-established drug dealers, police say

Fatal overdoses in B.C. drop 30% during first half of year

A total of 538 people have died between January and June, BC Coroners Service reports

VIDEO: B.C. RCMP officer’s stunt at motorcycle festival prompts internal investigation

The officer was part of a stunt event at the Squamish Motorcycle Festival

Most Read