The 2017-2018 ski season is quickly approaching and there are some exciting things happening in the world of ski racing at Kimberley Alpine Resort (KAR).
This year, for the first time, Kimberley will be hosting the Noram Finals from March 11 to 17, 2018. The Bulletin met with race organizer and chairperson Donna Briggs who says this is a big year for racing at KAR.
“The Norams are one level below the world cup,” said Briggs. “Provincial and college teams, regional/state teams and private academies from all over compete. If they win, they have a very good chance at making the National team. It really makes this year even more special.”
The Noram Finals are organized by the International Ski Federation and takes place in North America. In previous years, the Norams have been held in the US, Quebec and Nikiska. Briggs says there’s also a good chance that the Norams could be streamed live via internet, potentially showcasing Kimberley across the globe.
Along with the Noram Finals, there are several other races including another new event: the U16 speed Camp and SG Series from February 3 to 6. The U16 event includes every development level of speed from ages 14 to 16.
“This is a new event coming to Kimberley in 2018,” said Briggs. “Taking advantage of the speed track that is wide and safe to help young athletes gain confidence with speed. This event will follow the Dreadnaught FIS Speed Camp and Downhills, and Super Gs.
“We’re expecting around 150-200 athletes to attend this new event and if all goes well we may see this become an annual event in Kimberley. Athletes will come from all over BC from various clubs to attend and BC Alpine is very excited to have this new event on the calendar.”
Briggs says that back for it’s fifth year, the FIS Speed Camp, Downhills and Super Gs is a favourite on the FIS circuit.
“The coaches and athletes love the speed camp to give their athletes a lot of opportunity to gain confidence down hill,” Briggs said. “Last year mother nature was not very cooperative for the races, dumping around a meter of snow overnight. The night slalom was a big hit again last year and we could not host this premiere event without the generous donation from Sandor Rentals that help us light things up.
“As racers, they may never remember the cancellation of the race but as skiers this will probably be the most memorable ski day of their lifetime. We look forward to hosting approximately 150 people for this eight day event and hopefully mother nature will give us some bluebird days for racing.”
Formerly known as IPC, the World Cup Para Finals (WPAS) will also be hosted at KAR along with the Banff Speed Camp and Special Olympics.
Briggs says the economic impact of the four events they are hosting (FIS, U16, WPAS and Noram Finals) is estimated at 5400 delegate days at a spend of $150-$200 per day. Briggs says this will being 800K to $1 million “new” dollars to the community.
“For a lot of attendees this will be their first time to Kimberley and we look forward to showcasing our city to new visitors,” said Briggs. “The world class facilities we have at the Kimberley Convention Centre and Athlete Training Centre enable the local organizing committee to host such high caliber ski racing events. The partnership with RCR and Kimberley Alpine Resort, our accommodation partners Trickle Creek Lodge, Mountain Spirit Resort and Simply Kimberley, assistance from ViaSport and endless hours from our volunteer cast make these events possible.”
Briggs says that another thing making Kimberley so appealing for racers is how close the ski hill is to town.
“A lot of mountains are far from the city,” explained Briggs. “Here, racers, volunteers, coaches etc. can have more of a vacation experience. This might be the first time they are visiting, or the first time in 20 years and people are constantly blown away when they come to ski Kimberley.”
Briggs says that the races rely on volunteers, many of whom come back year after year from all over Canada. She says the volunteers are world class and have years of experience, however they are always looking for new help.
“We need many hands to help out and although most require skiing [or snowboarding] ability, we do have some roles that do not require skiing,” said Briggs.
If you wish to volunteer, contact volunteer coordinator Lynn Tuttle at email@example.com. For more information you can call race chairman Lloyd Steeves at 250.432.5325.