Photo: Erich Saide
Ashleigh McIvor and Jay DeMerit
Ashleigh McIvor, 33 and Jay DeMerit, 37
6 Years Together
Ashleigh McIvor is the 2010 Olympic champion skicross racer and Jay DeMerit is the retired captain of the Vancouver Whitecaps, captain of the English Premier League’s Watford FC and former U.S. international soccer star. They met six years ago at a Vancouver Canucks hockey game after the Olympics and have been together since. As elite athletes, they have spent their lives training and play was work. Now they are parents to a year old son, Oakes Michael, and staying fit and active has taken on a more familial tone.
“When we first started dating, I was trying to rehabilitate a knee injury with a lot of gym time, and Jay was playing for the Whitecaps, so his days off were only announced one night out and we were both usually pretty exhausted from all of the training,’” says Ashleigh. “Somehow, we always found more energy to go on adventures in the woods around Whistler. I guess it was part of my courting strategy — get the endorphins pumping, add the odd adrenaline rush — insert breathtaking scenery — and you have your recipe for a love (or lust)-inducing environment!”
With Oakes in tow, the McIvor-DeMerits can often be found on trails in around Pemberton and Whistler, hiking or ski touring. Ashleigh, a commentator for CBC television, still gets her adrenalin rush alpine skiing and mountain biking. Since retiring, Jay is right at home hurtling down the toughest ski hills or powering up the steepest mountain bike trails.
“I’ve been thrown into the deep end with the crew we surround ourselves with — from the world’s best big mountain skiers to pro mountain bikers and even really good surfers,” says Jay. “To me, it’s just a bit insane, throwing yourself down the mountain on a bike, inches from certain injury (or worse) at all times, but thankfully I grew up skiing so that part has been a natural fit.”
They have recently launched the Rise & Shine Foundation, which brings deserving youth to soccer camp in the Pemberton Valley.
“Honour your commitment to each other’s fitness goals from the very beginning. As soon as one of you bails on a workout, the other will be more comfortable bailing on future workouts and the respect for each other’s goals goes out the window,” says Ashley.