Dec 1, 2008 | Marmot, Winter 2008

IPC World Cup Returns in 2009

Mount Washington Alpine Resort will host an International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup event from March 8-14, 2009. It is the second World Cup Event in three years for the Resort, which hosted its first in 2007.

The Event consists of four races held over a five-day period – with time in between for training – and includes two biathlon and two cross-country competitions. There will also be opportunities for the public to watch the opening ceremonies and help celebrate the athletes and their achievements.

The Comox Valley will host up to 23 nations, including Canada, with at least 120 elite athletes competing. The Mount Washington event dovetails nicely with a World Cup being held at Whistler, and is also the final event of the IPC Cup series.

“Anybody I’ve talked to in the community has said they’re excited that we’re doing it again,” said IPC World Cup Committee Chair Darryl Pippin.

Athletes and coaching staff will board buses and come straight to Mount Washington from Whistler.

“We expect to get a larger turnout of athletes than last time,” Pippin said.

The flurry of activity that preceded the 2007 event is absent, as the trails set that year are ready for 2009. Technical delegates from the IPC visited Mount Washington in September to inspect the facility and gave it their approval.

“They really like the course here” because it works well for spectators, who can see most of the course from certain vantage points, Pippin said.

A tent village will be erected prior to the start of the event for waxing skis, feeding athletes, etc. Don Sharpe, Resort Director of Business Operations, is looking after venue management for the event.

The one thing Pippin and his committee will have no control over is the weather. But Pippin isn’t worried: racers in 2007 loved the fact nature threw everything from rain, snow, sleet and sun at them.

“The tougher it was, as long as there was enough volunteer effort there to keep the snow cleared…they were happy.”

The weeklong event kicks off with a community welcome and reception on Sunday, March 8 and culminates with World Cup presentations and a banquet on Saturday, March 14.

The event committee needs between 350-400 volunteers to help run the event during that week.

Pippin wants to see even more public involvement in the 2009 World Cup, and hopes schools in the Comox Valley will consider doing something for students during the event.

“It’s a great opportunity for our young kids to rub shoulders with the rest of the world,” he said.

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