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Appreciating Capacity, Understanding Landscape
Markdale, ON, Canada
Beaver Valley Ski Club
“Balancing leisure and recreational services within the high-demand landscapes of Ontario’s best four-season playground.”
For many, the Beaver Valley, with all its natural landmarks and quaint towns, is an area generally known for its productive agricultural belt, producing a significant portion of Canada's apple crop. However, it is also a host for many desired recreational opportunities with Bruce Trail access, the Beaver River, and obviously those activities associated with the Niagara Escarpment Recreation Areas.
Throughout the 1960’s, as ski clubs were emerging as desirable destinations for alpine skiing enthusiasts across Canada, the “private ski club” phenomenon came about, and is mostly unique to Ontario and its escarpment region. Orchestrating memorable experiences for patrons repeatedly, who must venture through winter conditions, by vehicle, typically from a distance, is a complex endeavour demanding insight into capacity, demographic, and the landscape it is situated within.
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The Beaver Valley Ski Club (est. 1967), appreciating the limitations of traditional ski area planning in a rapidly changing environment, retained SKA (now pl.ural) in 2004 to prepare a comprehensive “specified facilities” plan to help define the club’s future by looking at its current facility capacity, but also going beyond itself and into the capacity of the landscapes it was situated within. Considering these with tailored leisure service delivery planning parameters, and trends on what future members would be like, the club has steadily solidified its place as a “differentiated, enduring club.” This has been accomplished through a series of paced improvement initiatives, many guided by SKA, offering members and their guests variety, quality, and legacy – building on a genuine sense of community.
Facility design and leisure delivery planning, not limited to ski areas, requires thoughtful and sensitive approaches to analyses, engagement, and design planning. BVSC is inspiring for seeking a program that creates a comfortable place for members and guests, one where they want to create memories, and for creating a compelling and sustainable image, one which is designed for the member, the staff, and their visitors. The club continues to create an environment toward which members feel a sense of loyalty, where they are inspired to excel, and where they feel comfortable and secure. The “valley” is an environment with opportunities for recreation, relaxation, contemplation, living, working, and socializing – all available to the club. Its inspiring that BVSC chooses to preserve and celebrate these, in a truly competitive environment, as part of its culture.
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