Kimberley wants to welcome the world

Kimberley to bid for 2015 World Para-Alpine championships.

Josh Dueck of Kimberley is a former World Downhill champion. He is shown above racing in Kimberley in 2011.

Josh Dueck of Kimberley is a former World Downhill champion. He is shown above racing in Kimberley in 2011.

Kimberley will be putting in a bid to host the 2015 Para-Alpine World Championships. The bid must be in by September 15 and a decision by Alpine Canada will be forthcoming by the end of October 2012.

The World Championships are a huge event, held every two years and second only to the Olympics in importance, Bid Committee member Lloyd Steeves told Council on Monday evening. The event will be held outside of Europe for the very first time and Canada has been chosen as the host country.

But what ski hill will be the host has yet to be decided.

Steeves says there is a good chance that Kimberley Alpine Resort can be that hill.

However, other resorts will be in the mix. Steeves believes that Panorama will be stiff competition.

The World Championships would be held in February of 2015, after the two Family Day weekends. Being awarded the event would also mean Kimberley would host a World Cup race event in January of 2014, immediately prior to the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia.

Steeves says that the Kimberley Alpine Resort and Tourism Kimberley are on board, though specific details haven’t been worked out. He was at Council seeking their support, including a letter of support to include with the bid package, and a promise of the City contributing use of the Conference and Athlete Training Centre.

That facility would be a big part of the bid, Steeves said, being designed for disabled athletes. Indeed Kimberley’s history of accessibility will be a big point in its favour.

“Our accessibility is way better than Panorama,” he said. “Plus we have community buy in with the City, Tourism Kimberley, Economic Development and RCR on board. That’s not something that happens at Panorama. We have facilities like the conference centre, the airport, ski in, ski out accommodation, community involvement in the bid committee.”

One of the extras in the Kimberley bid will be a night slalom, skied on the Main run under the lights. Also planned are parties in the Resort plaza and the Platzl, fireworks, a live race feed on giant screen TV.

The Bid Committee consists of Steeves, Donna Briggs and Steve Bova from the Kimberley Disabled Skiers Association, Ted Funston from RCR, Kevin Wilson from the City, Jesse Ferguson from Tourism Kimberley and Grant Sharam from the Conference Centre.

There is a lot of expertise on the committee, Steeves said, including World Cup race experience.

Other Canadian cities may apply as well, including Mont Tremblant, but Steeves doesn’t think they can pull off all the events on one mountain. Panorama would be the biggest competition, he feels.

“ACA (Alpin Canada Alpine) has a perception that Kimberley can’t hold a big world class event. They know we can do races, but can we do an event this big? We think our committee, with different faces with World Cup experience, the night slalom which is huge, the facilities, will help us win the bid.”

The event would involve some 100 athletes along with 100 coaches, about 100 out of town volunteers, and an estimated 200 to 500 others including officials, media and spectators.

The World Championships are a 10 day event plus training. And all the alpine discipline races will be raced — the Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom and Super Combined plus a team event. The 2014 World Cup event is an eight day event plus training.

City Council unanimously agreed to support the bid.

“It’s really exciting,” Steeves said. “If we win it will be a fabulous day for Kimberley.”