snowboard worlds 

Sponsor needed for snowboard world championship bid Mark Taylor has until April 30 to find someone willing to put up the 100,000 Swiss francs needed for Whistler to make a bid for the 2003 snowboard world championships. Taylor, who has organized the FIS snowboard World Cup events at Whistler the past three seasons, met with the W5 Foundation last week and won the foundation’s support, but no money for the bid. "They were all very positive about it, but due to the financial status of the W5, having lost three alpine World Cups in a row, they’re in no position to fund the bid," Taylor said this week. "It would be different if they had had some World Cup success." Taylor said he will spend the next five weeks "looking into every nook and cranny" for a sponsor for the world championship bid. "I’m very committed to making it happen," he said. One source he won’t be going to is the Canadian Snowboard Federation. Unlike the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, the snowboard federation doesn’t have a major corporate sponsor to provide the type of financial assistance Taylor needs. In 1997, when the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association bid for the 2001 freestyle world championships, Owens Corning — then the major sponsor of the freestyle team — put up much of the bid money. But Owens Corning wasn’t taking much risk, as the 2001 world championships were awarded to Blackcomb by acclimation. That’s not the case with the snowboard world championships. Both Austria and the United States are expected to bid for the 2003 snowboard event, which means whoever puts up the non-refundable 100,000SF could get nothing in return. However, Taylor feels a Whistler bid would still be the frontrunner even if the Austrians and Americans go after the world championships. Meanwhile, the W5 is still sorting out its options as far as hosting future alpine World Cup races, events for the WinterStart Festival and what events will best support the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic bid. Alpine Canada has announced it will submit Lake Louise as the Canadian site for a men’s World Cup downhill and super G next December, rather than Whistler, but FIS officials have previously said they don’t think Lake Louise is suitable for men’s speed events. In any event, the W5 is working with Alpine Canada on a plan to bring men’s World Cup downhill racing back to Whistler in late February or early March in 2001. Also under consideration are bids for the World Cup finals, which include only the top 25 men and women in each discipline and are held each year in March, and a bid for the alpine world championships, likely in 2005 or 2007. One of the difficulties with hosting the World Cup finals or world championships is to find a way to do it without the resort losing money. Vail, while busy during the alpine world championships it hosted last month, did not garner much attention from North American media, sponsors or fans. The World Cup finals may be too late in the season to attract interest from anyone. As well, World Cup racing is structured so that the FIS and the national ski federations, such as Alpine Canada, receive sponsorship money up front from each event, while the host resort has little opportunity for direct financial benefit. The W5 is expected to announce a long-term plan for WinterStart, the World Cup and other events in the next couple of weeks.

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