Olympic compensation agreement reached 

Whistler-Blackcomb and 2010 Bid Corporation sign preliminary memorandum

Whistler-Blackcomb will not get a lump sum payment for hosting the speed alpine events if the 2010 Winter Games are held in the resort.

Instead Whistler-Blackcomb and the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation have agreed in a preliminary memorandum to work out how much rent is owed for the venue locations by looking at revenues for the three winter seasons prior to the 2010 Games.

The compensation will equal the difference between the average of the three previous seasons and the revues for the event year.

It’s likely the compensation will still be in the millions.

"I think it is fairer to all concerned," said Doug Forseth, vice-president of operations for Whistler-Blackcomb.

"You can pick a lump sum and who knows if that is a good lump sum or a bad lump sum.

"The possibility of that kind of arrangement is that either the venue sites will be underpaid, and therefore upset, or very likely they will negotiate for as much as they can possibly get… and the Olympics will probably end up paying too much.

"This is a better agreement as it will be for an appropriate amount which will make some sense at the end of the day rather than someone’s guess several years in advance.

"I think it will stand up to scrutiny. We have been very concerned and very cautious about doing things that would be seen to be appropriate and professional and fair to all concerned."

The ski areas that hosted snowboarding and alpine skiing events during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics received a lump sum payment of about $27 million US. No details are available about the payments, as the privately owned resorts won’t discuss them.

If the Vancouver bid for the 2010 Games is successful Whistler Mountain will host the downhill, super G, and downhill combined for both men and women. The men’s and women’s slalom, giant slalom, and slalom combined will be held on Blackcomb Mountain. The sliding events – bobsleigh, luge and skeleton – will also be held on Blackcomb Mountain, as will several Paralympic events.

The Nordic events will be in the Callaghan Valley, while freestyle and snowboard events will be at Cypress Bowl in West Vancouver.

The compensation payments to Utah ski areas that hosted Olympic events in 2002 were to cover many of the same challenges Whistler and Blackcomb will face.

For example, studies have shown the skier visits, lessons, and rental of equipment drops significantly in the event year.

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