Dave Battison

Cross Country Ski Coach Extraordinaire!


June 16, 2014

It is with profound sadness and shock, that we publish this brief summary of the accomplishments and passions of our beloved head coach and good friend. Dave Battison left us unexpectedly and well before his time. He has inspired several generations of cross-country skiers here on Vancouver Island and across the country.

2014 marked David Battison’s 23rd year as a professional coach. He was a Chartered Professional Coach (one of only 6 in our sport) and certified NCCP Level 3 and NCI Diploma. He has worked with grass roots club teams, varsity nordic programs, provincial nordic teams, professional race teams, and NST skiers and biathletes winning dozens of medals at Nationals and other competitions. His work has taken him across the country and around the world with multiple assignments as a wax technician, assistant or head coach including, Nationals, Canada Winter Games, Universiades (China & Italy), and World Jr Championships (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006).

Dave has been the Head Coach of the Strathcona Nordics Ski Club since May 1, 2004, where he has built a top-level ski program and produced a following of dedicated skiers and athletes. He is loved by his athletes and coaches alike, instilling confidence, respect and a deep loyalty and commitment. Dave had a holistic approach to athlete development respecting strong principles and self-discipline. This is reflected in the institution of awards at SNSC. In addition to “Fastest Female” and “Fastest Male” awards are the “Coach Dave Dedication Award” and the “Coach Dave One Inch Award” (for the athlete who strives the hardest in all aspects, day-to-day, in every step, gaining and winning that race, one inch at a time). Dave’s pervasive (and often derisive) sense of humour was a centrepiece of his coaching and motivational skills that was much loved by his athletes – young and old alike – and no one was immune to it. Amongst the masters racers in particular it became a badge of honour to be singled out for some technique or fashion faux pas.

Dave was always at the cutting edge of technology and coaching theory and practice and was a strong proponent of thorough monitoring and testing. He valued the input and guidance of his mentor, Alain Parent and the connection it provided him to the latest information and approaches coming out of Canmore and the world. He kept right on top of developments and changes in the sport and integrated these into his training sessions. Always looking for better ways to collect information from his athletes he was involved in the design and testing of a new app to allow instant upload of athlete data by athletes using their smartphones.

Dave was also a consummate wax technician applying a depth of experience with his extensive scientific and technical knowledge mixed with some pure magic and alchemy. One of his happiest places was in the midst of a humming wax room supervising and passing on his knowledge to a legion of parent waxers and assistant coaches. He also made sure his athletes learned to wax – they were always responsible for their own skis for all training sessions – and this enabled them to run waxing fundraisers at any big club event.

Dave has been instrumental at the Provincial level with CCBC in the development and roll out of the new NCCP LTAD coaching certification program, delivering dozens of workshops and evaluations. He collaborated on the NCCP LTAD Manual and developed the periodicity and strength modules. He also facilitated First Nations health and well being workshops drawing upon the LTAD model. In 2013 he joined the board of the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society and in 2014 was appointed to the Cross Country Canada high performance committee, a role he was really looking forward getting involved in.

Dave coached and contributed to the success of many athletes over the years at the three clubs where he worked as head coach. He was intensely proud of every single athlete that he coached.

Prior to his tenure at SNSC Dave was Head Coach of the Rocky Mountain Racers (2001 to 2004), Head Coach for the Laurentian Nordics Ski club (1991 to 2000), and Head Coach and Instructor at Laurentian University (1996 to 2000). Previous to coaching, Dave work for a short period of time as a paramedic, and he competed as a professional triathlete, representing Canada three times at the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii among other international events. He is a 1995 age group Champion Ironman Canada, winner and course record holder of 1997 Lake Geode International Triathlon and a member of the 5 man winning team of the 1996 – 24 hours of Adrenaline Mountain Bike Race in Barrie Ontario.

Dave held a number of professional qualifications, affiliations and credentials that he was proud of:

  • NCCP: Level 4 modules graduate program at NCI Victoria)

  • NCCP: Facilitator/Evaluator ICC, CC, LTT, TTT

  • A.T.P: (Athletic Therapy) specializing in exercise physiology

  • Chartered Professional Coach, member of the Coaches of Canada

  • Professional member of the BC Coaches Association