The Spirit of 2010 is growing at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, and so is its reputation with Olympic athletes.
The Resort has received official designation as a Pacific Sport Regional Training Centre for Nordic Skiing, Director of Business Services Don Sharpe said. "This past spring we had the Nordic combined team and the national Nordic team coming up to do spring training for 10 days (in May)." This is the fourth straight year that the Nordic team has taken advantage of Mount Washington's late snow pack for spring training, he added. The Resort is looking at entering a five-year agreement with the national team to train out of Raven Lodge.
"There's very few places that you can find snow as good as ours is in May," Sharpe said. The teams had six kilometres of trails available for training. Sharpe sits on the Comox Valley Olympic Committee (which is chaired by former Olympic athlete Susan Kelsey), and sees the excitement building already. The committee attended a Spirit of 2010 business summit in Vancouver in May, where the province outlined the four major themes to building the Olympic dream: trade and investment; tourism; labor supply and demand; and procurement.
"It's quite interesting to see how the government is making it up to the communities" to decide how to be involved, Sharpe said. "What we haven't heard yet is where the money is coming from."
Locally, the committee will focus on three themes: facilities and infrastructure; incorporating local culture and heritage; and a business plan and funding procurement. Both the Campbell River and Comox Valley Olympic committees have endorsed the idea of a $1.2 million, 5,000-square-foot training center at Mount Washington, Sharpe said. Once a plan for that is in place, the Resort can start marketing itself as a training centre for international teams - likely not until 2006 or later.
"That's when you'll see the benefits," he said. But first,
the facility; then corporate agreements with hotels, restaurants, etc.
"It's going to be a whole community effort," he said. "It's
not just a Mount Washington thing."