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New company created to execute 2005 Snowboard Worlds

The municipality will be part of a new company, which will help administer the 2005 FIS Snowboard World Championships.

In four months the ’05 Worlds will descend upon the resort, an event in the snowboarding community which is second only to the Olympics.

Five parties, made up of the municipality, Tourism Whistler, Whistler-Blackcomb, IMG Canada (the sports marketing firm) and the Canadian Snowboard Federation, are working together to see the $4.2 million event goes off without a hitch.

To that end they have created a company registered as the 2005 Whistler Snowboard World Championships Ltd.

John Rae, manager of strategic alliances and marketing services, explained the rationale behind the company at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The most significant reason he said is to make the administration of the event much easier. The company, rather than the five separate parties, will sign all contracts, receive and disburse all funds and oversee administration and banking.

The second reason for creating the company is that the five partners will then have limited financial liability to any third parties that the company deals with.

This means the RMOW will not be liable for any of the debts, obligations or actions of the company to third parties.

The event currently has a $1.2 million shortfall.

Rae is confident that shortfall gap will be closed in the next few weeks as new sponsors come on board.

The bulk of the revenue to date is coming from sponsors like Nokia, Telus, and the federal and provincial governments.

Nokia alone is sponsoring the event to the tune of $1.25 million, which is the largest sponsor ever to host an event in the resort.

If they cannot raise the $1.2 million shortfall Rae said there is some flexibility in the budget, which will ensure the debt can be lowered. Ultimately, the municipality will be on the line for 11 per cent of any debt.

Any costs to the RMOW as a result of a revenue shortfall will be identified by Nov. 1 and included in the 2005 budget.

Should the event make a profit, that profit will be shared, up to $150,000 for all five shareholders, with any additional revenues going back into the event itself.

In the new company, each of the five parties will have one vote on the board of directors.

The municipality’s responsibility in the ’05 Worlds include the facilitation of community events, organization of VIP security, inter-governmental relations, access to signage locations on municipal property at no cost, assistance with ceremonies (opening, closing and medal) and assistance with promotion and publicity.

Whistler was awarded the ’05 Worlds two years ago at the FIS Congress in Slovenia.

"We’ve actually been living this event for the last two years," said Rae.

Councillor Caroline Lamont said it was ironic that the $4.2 million event has prize money totaLling just $25,000.

The details of the event itself, which will run from Jan. 15 to 23, will be released in the coming weeks.

More than 400 athletes from over 40 countries are expected to attend and compete in five disciplines. The alpine disciplines are the parallel giant slalom and parallel slalom; the freestyle disciplines are halfpipe, snowboard cross and big air.

Whistler-Blackcomb has built a new $300,000 in-ground halfpipe venue at Base II on Blackcomb Mountain for the ’05 Worlds.

The pipe has been built to Olympic specifications and will have permanent lighting, which will make it available for night riding and as a training venue for teams and athletes.