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THE LOSS IS REAL - Catie Friend, PlanetSKI, Verbier
Saturday June 17, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

The Verbier Sports Centre has burnt to the ground. It may just be a building but the memories for PlanetSKI won't be forgotten quickly. NEW

Let's be honest - we moaned about it fairly often.

In fact a lot.

The indoor pool was never open at the right times; not early enough in the morning.

Not at all in the Spring and Autumn.

It was too cold for the kids when they were really little.

Verbier Sports CentreVerbier Sports Centre
















But I am, er, gutted it has come to this.

OK the ice hockey rink rivalled Antarctica for temperatures.

So much so that spectating "Hockey Moms" became expert at dressing in expedition level gear just to cheer on their little rampagers.

However, it was ours and it played an important part in our family life and our community.

Verbier Sports CentreMy rampager




















Many locals feel emotional at its loss.

My husband qualified for the Ironman World Championships after having done the majority of his swim training there.

Our kids were members of the recently formed swimming club, Association Natation Entremont.

At the grand old age of 42, under its iconic beams, I finally learned to swim the crawl.

There is a family tradition, dating back three generations, that all Friend children must swim a mile before they are ten years old to earn themselves £10.

My son beat the family record by completing his in the Verbier pool at just 7 years old.

That's 64 lengths, in case you're wondering, and it still makes me well up thinking about it.

Verbier Sports CentreUnforgettable memories
















As of April this year, we were expecting the indoor pool to be closed for up to two years while it was completely refurbished.

This was already a blow for families and swim fans, as there is nowhere else for the swimming club to carry on the excellent momentum they have built up in a very short time.

President and founder of Association Natation Entremont, Karin Pethebridge, says, "The loss of the sports centre is very tragic. I am hoping that [our commune] will talk about solutions for the near future for a pool for our community in Bagnes."

The kids' triathlon scheduled to take place there in September will now take place on Sunday 3rd at the Gouille in Le Chable.

My daughter had just completed her first season in the Red Ice École de Glace - learning to play ice hockey.

This is about as far from Friend family traditional sporting activity as you can imagine, but it was something she chose and really enjoyed.

That option is now gone.

We are sad.

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"The day the rink burned my kids cried, not just a little, but a lot. There was a loss. A loss of their childhood. The hockey rink was a place we could share the laughter and the rivalry between teams and parents. It is very sad that we have lost our favourite place to be, " said Hockey Mom of three avid junior players, Vanessa Rueber.

Looking forward as a community we were excited about the outdoor pool still being a gathering point for the summer months and to see what the new climbing hall looked like.

The Verbier Sports Centre was more than just a building - it was part of my, and my family's, life.

Verbier Sports CentreVerbier Sports Centre

Catie Friend has been speaking to resort officials about what the future holds and whether the structure will be re-built, and at what cost.

Check back later this week for her full report.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with ALL THE LATEST STORIES FROM THE MOUNTAINS.

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