Dave Battison

This page is dedicated to our beloved Coach Dave.

Dave Battison

Dave Battison

We’ll be updating the page, so check back from time to time. Scroll down to see photos and videos, read more stories, and use the comments field to share your favourite memories of Dave Battison.

Pediatric sports symposium

The first annual Dave Battison Pediatric Sports Medicine Symposium takes place June 13-14, 2015 on Mount Washington. This inclusive symposium is intended for everyone who may be working with youth and children in sports.

This unique conference has been created as a resource for physicians, physical therapists, health care professionals, coaches and parents and is hosted on the beautiful Mount Washington Alpine Resort.

Symposium Highlights
* Dr. Jim Bovard, Team Physician, Vancouver White Caps
* Dr. Shelina Babul, Associate Director, Sports Injury Specialist, BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit
* Chris Miller, Sport Physical Therapist, Canada Snowboard National Freestyle Team
* Ashley Armstrong, Sport Dietitian, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific
* Matt Fisher, Strength and Conditioning Coach, Golf Canada National Development Teams, Canada Snowboard National Freestyle Teams

Visit the website or facebook page for more details!


Dave Battison Memorial Stadium

On January 31, 2015, we gathered for the dedication ceremony at the nordic stadium at Mount Washington Resort.


From Laura Battison’s address at the dedication ceremony,

I’d like to thank Mount Washington, the Strathcona Nordic Ski Club, the numerous contractors, and Brian Stamp for helping to make this tribute to Dave possible.  Since 2004, Dave was the Head Coach of the Strathcona Nordic Ski Club.  His impact permeates this mountain, especially the stadium. 

Dave loved the stadium; the raw energy of competition, the line, and—most importantly—the clock, the place where every inch was measured.  Every decision is counted in minutes, seconds, and tenths of a second. Triumphs and defeats are celebrated.

Outside of race day, this is where Dave stood for endless hours coaching and mentoring.  Breaking down the fundamentals of skiing with animated actions, skiing trivia, and constructive criticism, everyone learned.  What should have seemed like endless hours of torture built friendships and challenged people.  Dave had a way of making racing fun for all ages and abilities.

He was a wealth of knowledge was continuously available:  a waxing guru, an accomplished international athlete, an acclaimed coach, and a good friend, always ready to help.  Dave demanded the basics of time management, accountability, and good planning while building self-confidence in those around him and helping everyone be the best they could be.

Dave believed in developing not only athletes but coaches and a supporting facility to establish the strong foundation we enjoy as a club today.  By working with the club coaches, teaching the fundamentals of the Long Term Athlete Development program and engaging people, the club has expanded in size and depth.  During his tenure, the teaching grid was built, trail lighting was installed, and the world cup trails were established.  We are no longer the little club that could, we are now the club that does.

This sign now stands where Dave spent so many hours.  His 90-year-old mother still does things better than we do.  Our hips still aren’t far enough ahead, and pain is just weakness leaving the body.  As a monument to the things we have accomplished thus far, the torch has now been passed on.  Let’s also use this as a marker for all the great things we still haven’t done.

David J. 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 humor was a centerpiece 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 honor 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. Some of his most notable program graduates include:

  • Devon Kershaw – National JR and SR Team, World Champion, World Cup medalist and Olympian.
  • Sophie Manarin – National JR Team
  • Rob Bewick – NTDC Thunder Bay (also a member of World University Games Team)
  • David Zylberberg – NTDC Thunder Bay, Ottawa training center
  • William Fitsgerald  – NTDC Thunder Bay (Team Canada at WUG)
  • Alison Jeffkins – National University Champion (Team Canada at WUG)
  • Kit Richmond – National Training Center, Canmore
  • Simon Beaudet – National Training Centre, Quebec
  • Stephen Lowry – National JR Team
  • Alison Madlung – National B Tour
  • Nicky Pacas – National JR/Youth Biathlon Team
  • Tina Kostera – World JR/Youth Biathlon Team
  • Sarah Peters –  National Training Centre, Thunder Bay; Universiade team
  • Andrea Lee – NTDC Thunder Bay, World Jr Championships & Universiade teams

Concurrent to his tenure as SNSC Coach, Dave coached Brian Culbert, Ultra Athlete and is part of his fund raising success for children’s health internationally.

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 the 1995 Champion Iron Man Canada, winner and course record holder of 1997 Lake Geode International Trialthlon 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


Dave is married to Laura Battison, whom he met during his tenure at Laurentian University. Laura shares his love of the outdoors, his motorcycle, cross-country skiing, young people, and their 2 pug dogs (PadDee and Betty). Dave and Laura made their home in Campbell River, BC.

Read the Cross Country Canada Tribute.

Read the Rocky Mountain Racers Tribute.


Memorial funds

Donations in Dave’s memory be directed towards supporting young athletes achieve their goals and/or coach mentoring and development, two things Dave was passionate about.

    There are two options to direct donations:

  • The Strathcona Nordics Dave Battison Memorial Fund. This fund will be used to provide annual cross-country skiing bursaries to promising young skiers within the club. It will be funded through direct donations as well as club fundraising activities. The club is currently setting up a charitable project so that eligible donations into the fund could receive a tax receipt. In the meantime, any donations or pledges (until the charitable project is ready) can be delivered at the memorial or sent by mail to Strathcona Nordics Ski Club, Box 3085, Courtenay, BC V9N 5N3. Please mark any donations in memorium to Dave Battison and indicate if you would like a tax receipt. For more information contact info@strathconanordics.com
  • The Sofie Manarin Memorial Fund which recognises the top juvenile male and female athletes each year at Ski Nationals. Sofie was one of Dave’s most promising athletes who was tragically killed in an accident while training in 2001. Donations to Sofie’s fund in Dave’s memory can be made through the Sudbury Community Foundation, 96 Larch Street, Suite 300, Sudbury, Ontario, P3E 1C1, [(705) 673-7770] or electronically via https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/2506 Donations to the Sofie Manarin Memorial Fund are eligible for a tax receipt.

In addition to these two funds, the family and the club also intend to establish an annual, national coaching award in Dave’s name to recognise excellence in cross-country ski coaching at the club level. This will be a recognition award as opposed to a cash award, and it’s creation will come from part of the proceeds donated through the Dave Battison Memorial Fund.

Any donors interested in making a charitable donation in exchange for a tax receipt will make the donation to Cross Country Canada using this Donation Form indicating an intent that the funds be directed to the Dave Battison Memorial Athlete Development Fund. 

Note that donors may not receive advertising or sponsorship recognition – just a thank-you. 
Funds generated through this project cannot be directed to any individual – in other words bursaries and travel grants are out, but these may be funded from non-charitable fundraising. This avoids the possibility of any direct link between donors and recipients.

For full details on the rules please see the CCC Charitable Donations Policy



Here’s a video that we made with Coach Dave a few years ago. The video was for coaches and for skiers.



18 thoughts on “Dave Battison”

  1. I wish that I could be there. When I first moved to Ontario Dave and Laurentian were the “gold standard” for clubs and coaching here. I could see immediately how good he was as a coach. I especially remember Nationals in Val Cartier when we shared a wax cabin and had our coaches meeting each night in the mess. Lots of fun and laughs. Remember – “stay clear of the door”

  2. Coaching with Dave was always fun. When we were teammates as part of the Ontario coaching team he always had time for jokes in the waxing room and afterwards enjoying a few pops. I missed him when he left for BC. My sincere condolences to the family

  3. I am shocked and saddened with Dave’s passing. During my time with Dave, he was a superfit triathlete that was impossible to keep up with on the bike. Dave, you turned into one heck of a coach and you will be missed.

    My thoughts are with Laura and his family.

    Chris Hooper

  4. 47 years old is too young to depart for the other side, there’s no other way to describe that. Especially for someone who had such passion for a wonderfully healthy sport like cross country skiing. Dave was my first “real” racing coach in the sport that we shared a passion in. Cross country skiing. He taught me many lessons growing up – most notably to be tough, work hard, and enjoy it along the way. While coaching our (at the time) small club – Laurentian Nordic – we were able to win the National Jr. club championship with just a small number of skiers – which was pretty amazing. We worked damn hard together – and I remember being only 13 years old and scared as hell on one of my first runs with the club. I didn’t know the trails behind the university at all – but I knew that I had to keep up or I feared I would be lost forever in the woods. Through it all, we had many laughs together, many highlights, and dealt with some serious sadness as well. He was always there with a smile, a word of encouragement and came to work a great attitude. He loved the sport of skiing, and seeing us succeed – you could see it in his lively eyes – that he was so happy for us all.

    I owe Dave a lot, for without the club, my friends, and a coach like him I would have never believed it possible to race internationally, let alone win internationally. He was always reminding us that it was possible and I guess we were all naive enough to believe in that. The fact that a small group of athletes from a small ski community in Northern Ontario could not only compete with clubs from across the country but win against those clubs is a testament to his leadership, belief and passion. I’m so sad to hear that he’s passed away, but his legacy is far reaching and will not fade quickly. He had such a big impact with me, and many skiers like me from Sudbury, to the Bow Valley and out on Vancouver Island – and he’ll be sorely missed, yet never forgotten. I wish I could have been there in Sudbury today, but if anyone would understand it would be Dave – for I am continuing to throw my heart and soul into OUR sport with the goal to be the best in the world. He taught me to believe anything was possible, and with the same hard work, dedication, passion and enjoyment I’m down here in Bend, OR with the National Team getting after it – striving to be as fit and prepared as I can be this winter season.

  5. Laura,
    Please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of Dave. He was a great coach, role model and friend. Anyone who could look after us LU boys and girls on a race weekend away deserved a medal at the very least. Dave always had my greatest respect. And when I couldn’t find it in me to do it for myself I did it for Dave. I am sure others must feel the same. He always drew the best out of you. He will be sadly missed. I am truly sorry for your loss. God bless.

  6. Dave,

    I truly appreciate the time we had together and the personal friendship we developed during it. You will be truly missed.

    Dave Battison was a coach, friend and true supporter of all his athletes’. He had an ability to connect critical technique elements, create challenging yet possible training plans meanwhile asking his athletes’ to understand why and how they would achieve their goals. He was always welcoming, with a smile even at 6:30 am in the wax hut prior to a race. Dave had an ability to incite interest, create comedic relief and make skiing engaging. At RMR and Strathcona Nordics, Dave led a group of young athletes’ to achieve significant improvements and results. On numerous occasions he helped athletes’ who needed support and guidance with sport, but also personally. In addition, Dave participated himself in long-distance running and coached Ultra mountain bike races. Mr. Battison truly loved his vocation, his athletes and the sport. He will be sadly missed.

    I remember training and spending time with Dave in many different locations; doing many different activities. A few stand out. We were doing plyometrics (a brutal workout devised by Dave) at the Canmore Nordic Center on a blustery autumn day. Always seeking improvement and increased performance, Dave created a bungee cord system in which he could harness the athlete and pull from behind to create resistance. I remember his encouragement each time I faced the hill, and while I inched my way up. After completing the workout, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment and pride that we had done it together. For me, whether out skiing or in life, Dave will always be behind me, urging me forward.

    With my deepest condolences.

    Your athlete and friend,

    Kit Richmond

  7. Such a shock. The 5 years I spent with him I learned a lot. There are so many places I wouldn’t have seen, people I wouldn’t have met, and things I wouldn’t have tried, if I hadn’t met Dave. He TRIED to teach me to ski, that didn’t work out too well. I was a pretty bad student being from Kentucky and not growing up with snow. We finally decided that we couldn’t ski together :). He definitely challenged me to move outside of my comfort zone, which made me a better and stronger person. He sure was his happiest working with his athletes and I am happy to see that he was continuing to have success as a coach. Many condolences to his friends and family.

    Lara Shannon

  8. An amazing man taken much too soon. He made a significant impact on my life at a time when I was figuring out who I was and what I could be. Rest in peace coach, you have influenced so many!
    5 hrs ·

    from David Johns – RMR

  9. I was Dave’s athlete for most of my teenage life. He was fondly “Coach Dave” and I think he coached us all in sport and in life. He began coaching RMR at a difficult time in his life but brought an energy and enthusiasm that was infectious. He designed diabolical workouts, carefully laid out training programs, and took us all on some pretty wild adventures. He taught us how to work hard with a smile, to win and to lose. He took me on my first trip to Europe, was there through my graduation and lived in my basement the first time I moved away from home. He was there through my first breakup, my worst injuries and, whether I won the race or not, was always waiting at the finish line with a big hug. He would drive for hours to visit me in Rocky, play techno music and chase me up insanely steep hills while I did squat jumps. He was always supportive, always had an opinion and good humour and made every experience memorable. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the periwinkle van but every time I fail or succeed I have Dave with me. He made a profound impact on my life and I am forever grateful for his dedication, commitment and love.

  10. Dave cast a large shadow in north eastern ontario while I was growing up racing. Within the small community that we were, figures like dave, martin nighbor, Patti kitler, mary waddell all had a hand in raising us as athletes. Dave was a big part of the community that allowed us to believe we could springboard from an onaping O’Cup, to compete with the best at national and international events.

    Just last night I was talking about a week I spent in Rossland bc, where Dave and alain teamed up to run one of the best training camps i’ve ever had.

    Thanks Dave, for everything.

  11. Dave will leave an enormous void in every aspect of our club. We relied on his guidance and expertise in so many areas, that it is impossible for us to imagine how we will cope without him.
    His passionate and scientific approach to coaching, both athletes and coaches, impacted many individuals throughout the nation.
    Besides his professional coaching accomplishments, I will remember him as a very accomplished athlete in his own right. I competed with him in Ironman Canada and the times he posted in the early 90′s would still be very competitive twenty years later.
    The best tribute we can make to Dave, is to strive for continuous improvement in all we pursue in life.
    Dave, I will miss you dearly and I will try to pass on the knowledge that you provided me with.
    My thoughts are with Laura, the family and all who were touched by Dave’s tremendous positive energy.

  12. I cannot begin to describe how devastated I am by Dave’s sudden and untimely death. I owe him so much. He knew how to believe in people and would do so when others wouldn’t. Without his coaching, friendship and love, I would not be where I am today, skiing and otherwise. It makes me terribly sad that my daughter won’t get to know and learn from Dave and that prime rib feasts will never be the same without him. I am so sad that he will not be here to enjoy more life with Laura, with Paddy and Betty, and with his many friends and athletes.

    Dave, I miss you already…
    Yours, Sarah, Tim and Forest

  13. Some people are missed than words can say…And more than hearts should have to feel. My heart is broken at the loss of my dear friend Dave whom I have known since he was the age of his young Strathcona athletes. I am comforted knowing his last day on earth was spent with these young people doing what they all enjoyed so much, then home to Laura and his beloved pugs. I too have many Dave Battison stories. He and I shared much laughter, many tears and always knew how much we cared for each other. So many of us share this loss. Dave made a difference and so many of us will be forever grateful that he crossed our paths. RIP dear Dave. We will miss you forever.
    Shirley Pommier

  14. My deepest heart felt codolences go out to all Dave’s family friends, Laura the pugs and to all his fellow athlete’s.

    I was one of the first in a line of many that has had the priviledge of being coached, mentored and befriended by Dave. As a skier first in Sudbury and endurance mountain bike racer later on in Canmore. Dave was a coach, and a friend that beleived in me and so many others, a man who gave us the tools to be not only athlete’s but to be great in what ever we chose to do in life.

    His own accomplishments as an athelte and coach inspired me to take up coaching. His ways were unorthodox, yet amazing and no meeting between us in 23 years ever started or finished without a good laugh about something crazy from our past.

    He will be greatly missed by so many……Rest in Peace “Coach Dave”

    Ryan Draper
    Canmore, Alberta

  15. Difficult to find the words but feel I need to comment. Shared many experiences with Dave:
    - his recovery from loosing an athlete in a tragic cycling accident
    - training me in waxing and coaching
    - living in our basement
    - the conversations in the blue van
    - his marriage to Laura on the beach and looking after the pugs pre-wedding photos
    - his dreams of living on a sail boat
    - bringing together the ski community from West to East
    - “stoned” in hospital from pain killers from the back injury
    - trips to the Haig

    Through it all Dave always had an opinion, a smile and laugh, and always made others laugh.

    Our thoughts are with Laura, the Pugs and the family,
    Dan, Brenda and Alison Madlung

  16. My condolences to all Dave’s family and friends. Dave was my coach for at least 6 years in my ski career. For me, he was more than a coach, I was a confident and a close friend (he was Uncle Dave after all !). He tough me many life lessons and gave me his unending passion for sport which will me following me for the rest of my life. Dave was able to turn the toughest and most painful workouts into a real fun time. His positive attitude, his smile, his dedication, his hard work made him a person that everyone enjoyed hanging with. He also hardly believe on everyone potential on their personal goals and he was a key factor to help them to reach it. I will miss the unending laugh and talk that we could have together.

    Rest in peace my friend

    Simon Beaudet

  17. What can we say ?!
    Dave was “Dave” to so many athletes , coaches and friends throughout the country for so many years . He has had a major impact on all of us . He coached my 3 boys all through their racing years in Sudbury – he was my mentor as I went into the coaching stream and even now as a facilitator with NCCP. I worked with Dave as a parent , club pres, coach and traveled to China and Italy with him. Always larger than life and with an outspoken mind to go with it. So very sad .. a lot of sorrow .
    Mary Waddell

  18. My heartfelt condolences to Dave’s family. I was President of the Rocky Mountain Racers during the years that Dave was Head Coach of the Club. He was dedicated to his craft as a Nordic Coach, committed to the athletes, and understood what it took to win. He will be sorely missed.
    Mike Carleton

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