Whistler faces first Olympic test this week
Seven representatives of the Canadian Olympic Association will arrive in Whistler Monday evening (Aug. 10) to inspect the sites and facilities proposed as part of the Vancouver-Whistler bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
The COA representatives will be inspecting the alpine and freestyle skiing and snowboarding facilities on Whistler and Blackcomb mountains as well as accommodation and media facilities in the village. Nordic events, including ski jumping, are proposed for the Callaghan Valley and will have to be developed if the Olympic bid is successful.
"I flew up the Callaghan Valley in a helicopter on the weekend and it was awe inspiring," says Craig MacKenzie, one of Whistler’s representatives on the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Bid Society.
"I can’t imagine a better setting."
The facilities and runs proposed on Whistler and Blackcomb for the alpine and snowboard events are those used regularly for World Cup events, "with a few new twists," MacKenzie says.
Slalom and giant slalom skiing events have not been part of World Cup stops at Whistler in the past, but there is a proposal to bring all four alpine skiing disciplines to Whistler and a few other World Cup sites on a regular basis. If that proposal becomes a reality race organizers have considered running the technical events on the Black Chair runs, so they would finish at midstation on the village gondola.
In addition to inspecting the competition facilities the COA members will hear other aspects of the Vancouver-Whistler Bid Society’s proposal, which include using a couple of existing hotels as the athletes village and the conference centre as the media centre. A transportation legacy is also part of the proposal.
The COA representatives arrive in Whistler from Vancouver, where they will be inspecting facilities and proposed sites for the skating events on Sunday and Monday.
Vancouver-Whistler is competing with Calgary and Quebec City for the right to be the Canadian bid for the 2010 Winter Games. Formal proposals will be submitted to the COA in October and one of the three bids chosen in November.
The International Olympic Committee will award the 2010 Olympics in 2003.