Dec 1, 2009 | Marmot, Winter 2009

Low Impact Olympic Presence for Visitors

While Mount Washington Alpine Resort will be hosting many international Teams in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the Resort will still be open for business from the public.

But don’t expect the teams to deliberately be on public view, says Resort Director of Business Services Don Sharpe.

“You may see the Teams. I don’t think we’re expecting them to be on public view. Really, they’re not here to be on public display; they’re here to prepare themselves for the biggest event of their lives,” he said.

Visitors should not expect any delays or obstructions to their own ski days while international Teams are practicing at Mount Washington, Sharpe stressed.

Trail closures will be virtually non-existent – perhaps a couple on any given day, but likely less than that. Each sport has its own dedicated area, such as Biathlon, Freestyle or Nordic events. Biathletes and Nordic skiers will train on the World Cup Trails, so that area will be closed off. “There’s 55 kilometres of trails; they can go anywhere and not see (international athletes),” Sharpe said.

The Freestyle Site is a closed site, so that won’t affect the public. A ski cross site was built specifically for this winter, but it’s beside regular runs so again won’t be an issue.

Snowboard Teams will probably take over the Invitation run off the Sunrise Quad Chair for about a week in February, but that will be the extent of it, Sharpe added.

Food and Beverage Services will not experience any breaks in service, and neither will grooming on the Alpine runs.

“We may bring in an extra operator through those few weeks that the athletes are here, to prepare for those requirements,” Operations Manager Erik Meertens said.

But with 18 full-time groomers on staff, he doesn’t expect the public to notice any difference on any of the other Runs. “We’re hoping there’s little or no impact on the public.”

Parking won’t be an issue, as most of the competitors will be staying in chalets, which have designated parking.

Visitors shouldn’t notice any difference in accommodation availability either, because it’s traditionally a busy time of the season – these bookings were just made a lot earlier. There are more than 4,000 beds available on the mountain at any one time, Sharpe said.

European paparazzi will be visible at Mount Washington, something that the Resort doesn’t generally have to deal with.

“The Germans are quite concerned about paparazzi coming over,” Sharpe said. They’ve had bookings from Swedish and French media and more.

“The eyes of the world are upon our little community and we have to take advantage of the fact they’re going to be close by.”

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