They say that you should always ski or board with someone who’s better than you and Whistler Blackcomb’s “Ski or Ride with an Olympian” program pushes that to a whole new level. As the name suggests, the person giving you a few pointers likely has a few shiny medals at home – can a bit of that Olympic magic rub off on you?
Gold Medal Olympian: Ashleigh McIvor
In Episode 6 of Apres Ski when the team plan to ski with an Olympian, they enlist the help of Olympic athlete Ashleigh McIvor. Ashleigh took the gold medal in the Ski Cross event at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Ski Cross is an intense and adrenaline fueled sport where skiers race to the finish over varied terrain with high-banked turns and big-air jumps adding in the risk factor. With someone like this breaking trail ahead of you, you’ll be ripping down the ski hill in no time.
Ashleigh has grown up on the slopes of Whistler – her parents had her on skis at around a year and a half. Their ethos was that skiing should always be about having fun. Ashleigh looked up to other athletes that embodied this spirit – that being in the mountains is about passion and a love of how you feel when you’re cruising down them. This is what makes skiing with Ashleigh special. Not only does she know the terrain like the back of her hand, but she loves it and you can tell.
Ashleigh started racing aged 10 with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, and then shifted to Ski Cross when she was 16. She became the first female gold medalist for the sport of Ski Cross in 2010, with Canadians Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa following in her footsteps, collecting gold and silver respectively in 2014. What we love about Ashleigh is that she follows her heart – extreme sports are about pushing your limits and finding the courage to overcome the fear that stops most people. The whole community of Whistler was watching Ashleigh when she went down that course in 2010, with each twist, turn and jump our hearts beat fast with hers.
Ashleigh, along with her soccer playing husband Jay DeMerit, welcomed an addition to their family late November and we wish them all the best with this adventure.
Olympian Line Up
We’re thrilled that Ashleigh has become such an outstanding ambassador for Whistler and giving people the chance to connect with her when they spend time on mountains. Ashleigh is not the only Olympian Whistler has to offer, here are a few of the other Whistler based champions you can connect with for an amazing day to ski with an Olympian.
JULIA MURRAY – Ski Cross
Born and raised in Whistler, Julia grew up on skis and bikes. Like Ashleigh, she started on the racing circuit before transitioning to Ski Cross, where she made the Canadian National team in 2007. She’s got multiple World Cup podium finishes under her belt, came 12th in the 2010 Winter Olympics, and was a Silver Medalist in the 2011 World Championships. An entrepreneur at heart, look out for “Jule’s Fuel”, a superfood breakfast option that can be found on the shelves of Whistler’s local grocery stores.
DAVEY BARR – Ski Cross
Davey grew up in Whistler and for over 30 years he’s developed his love for skiing, becoming a world-class athlete in the process. He started Alpine racing at the age of ten and was soon representing Canada around the world. He transitioned to Ski Cross and during twelve action-packed years of competing on the circuit, he won Gold at Deer Valley, Utah in 2008; the first ever FIS World Cup Skicross on North American soil. He also nabbed the Bronze medal at the 2009 FIS World Freestyle Championships, in Inawashiro, Japan. And then to top it off, he placed 6th in his home town in the 2010 Winter Olympics.
MERCEDES NICOLL – Snowboard Halfpipe
Born in North Vancouver, her family were avid winter sports fans and Mercedes didn’t fall far from the tree. She started her competitive career in figure skating and alpine racing, but the boots and planks were ditched for the board in 1996. Mercedes has competed in three Olympic games and five Winter X Games. In front of a home crowd she grabbed the 6th spot in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. We’re excited to see what Mercedes sets her mind to next!
Pricing for the program starts at $950 for the day. Connect with us if you’d like to book an Olympian for your time on the hill this winter season.