Dec 1, 2009 | Marmot, Winter 2009

Olympic Volunteerism

Mount Washington staff, club members and athletes are very involved in the 2010 Winter Olympics

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is involved in the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in more ways than simply drawing teams to practice here prior to the competitions.

Marc Lyster, Manager of Nordic Operations at Mount Washington, will join the grooming staff for the Paralympics, while Tom Kennedy will groom some runs for the Winter Olympics, according to Resort Director of Business Operations, Don Sharpe.

Some of the Mountain’s Ski Club members – especially from the Strathcona Nordics Cross-Country and Biathlon Teams – are volunteering at the Games.

Andrea Lee, one of the top Junior Racers with the Strathcona Nordics, has been chosen as a forerunner for the Winter Olympic Cross-Country Events. Lee is a multiple National Medalist and one of the top Juniors in the Country.

Forerunners ride the Course before each Olympic Event, both as a preamble to let people on the trail know a Race is about to begin, and to make the track ready so it’s even for all Racers.

“It’s quite a big job,” said Dave Battison, Head Coach for the Strathcona Nordics. “There could be Men’s and Women’s Races every day.” Lee will work as a Forerunner during the first week of Competition at the Olympics.

Jessica Sedlock, a Biathlon Team Member and former Member of the National Team, will be a Forerunner on the Biathlon Course.

Between 15 and 20 of the Strathcona Nordics’ Officials will officiate at Winter Olympic Events in February. “They’ve been working over the last two years to get certified to do that,” Battison said.

Len Apedaile, Past-President of the Nordics, is the Manager for Cross-Country Skiing for the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games.

Half of the Biathlon Range Crew from the Mount Washington area will work at the Paralympics Biathlon Events.

“We have a couple of members working the main Olympics in Biathlon,” said Joe Bajan. “It’s all based on experience and skill sets. These types of positions need that experience.”

The Volunteers have all built their skill sets over the past couple of years, when Mount Washington hosted International Paralympic Committee World Cup Events in 2007 and 2009, and a third Event in the Callaghan Valley in 2009.

The Biathlon Club is automating its targets in time for teams to practice with them in February and March. It’s the final step in an aggressive, multi-year plan to build the infrastructure at Mount Washington.

The residual effect will hopefully see some of the International Teams return for winter or spring training. In November, Bajan was with a work party at Mount Washington when he received a call from the German National Biathlon Team, three members of which were coming up for a visit and wanted to see their facilities.

Once the Germans heard that it’s possible to hold Biathlon Camps in May and June at Mount Washington – because there’s always late snow – “the light went on,” he said. “They realized this was a place they could train.“Those are our assets.”

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