By Dan Walton
Glacier Peaks Gymnastics has grown to include a second location in the valley.
With the addition of its newest location in the Industrial Park, local gymnasts can now practice in both Invermere and Radium Hot Springs.
At the location in Radium, things are going really well as far as training goes and the kids are learning some really cool skills and tricks, said head coach TC Rogers. But to keep the clubs longevity going and to grow a bigger base, Radium alone wasnt working.
Glacier Peaks was founded two years ago, and operated its first year out of the large white quonset hut on Highway 93/95 north of Invermere.
After moving last year into the old elementary school in Radium, the club benefitted from its high ceilings, but was in search of more space and a home closer to Invermere.
The Radium gym is primarily a tramp and tumbling club, said Ms. Rogers. Invermere now offers uneven bars, balance beams, and new vaulting apparatuses.
The convenient location of the Industrial Park gym has helped the group grow exponentially. Glacier Peaks had 57 members at the end of last spring, and is now instructing more than 300 gymnasts. And the group is now working hard to sustain its growth. Although nine coaches are undergoing training to take on the instructional roles, only three coaches are currently qualified to offer all of the training.
Were just loving it. We coach because we love kids, said Ms. Rogers. Its a really exciting venture.
And as the club continues to grow its members, one central location in Invermere may eventually become more feasible with a larger clientele, she said.
You can imagine going back and forth between two gyms with 300 kids.
Amid the logistical challenges, however, the team is helping athletes prepare to compete on the international stage.
These kids are basically training out of a garage and theyre going to put Invermere on the map, she said, referring to 12 local students who are preparing for the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympics. The Junior Olympics is a program to look at long-term athlete development.
Before the students head south to compete in competitions in Idaho and Montana, Ms. Rogers said that a coach from the Junior Olympics Program will be in the Kootenays to assist with an athlete training camp.
Its really exciting for these kids. Theres not as much gymnastic activity in the valley as there is in places like Vancouver.
While there are many programs that cater to younger gymnasts, Glacier Peaks trains athletes of all ages. To find out about their programs, pricing and scheduling, visit www.glacierpeaksgymnastics.com.