U16 Canadian Alpine Championships #LSN_Sports
THUNDDER BAY, ONTARIO --- October 13, 2016 – (LSN) Thunder Bay - Officials with Alpine Canada and the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiing were in Thunder Bay Thursday to provide insight to the Lake Superior Ski Division Alpine for hosting the U16 Canadian Alpine Championships later this winter.
Loch Lomond Ski Area will be the venue for the national event slated for the week of February 21-25, 2017.
Dusan Grasic, the Domestic Director for Alpine Canada in Thunder Bay conducting the site visit says that upgrades to ski hill will be required to meet the technical requirements for hosting this national event, but the improvements are all achievable.
“While it is not among the biggest hills in the country, it is perfect for slalom and GS (giant slalom). We are challenged with vertical distance for Super G, but the terrain has the features where if we are a little creative we can gets results by allowing athletes to make two competitive runs,” explain Grasic.
The national championships will attract 170 to 180 athletes from across Canada and Gracic points out that Thunder Bay skiers will have a chance to showcase their skills against the best in the country as part of Team Ontario and a special quota allowed for local club athletes.
“We want to promote skiing across the country and Thunder Bay has a strong ski club, a strong ski community and we want to make that Alpine Canada has a presence in every part of the country,” said Gracic when asked about hosting the event here.
Para Alpine Canada will integrate with the national championships with 20 disabled athletes from across the country to compete.
Gwen Binsfeld who is with Para Alpine Canada and also the Ontario program manager for the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiing was in Thunder Bay as part of the site visit and says the facilities at Loch Lomond are ideal for para-athletes, with the lift at Loch Lomond offering easy access to hill.
Binsfield says the national event will also provide an opportunity to promote Para-skiing in Thunder Bay and Northwest Ontario by giving a first experience, a give-it-a-go opportunity for local people with disabilities.
“We will be reaching out to the children’s treatment centre, the school boards, First Nations to get some young people with disabilities to come out and experience coming down the hill,” said Binsfeld.
This national ski competition comes on the heels of the Lake Superior Ski Division Alpine hosting a very successful U-16 Ontario Alpine Championships two years ago in March 2015. The provincial championship generated an economic impact of $966,000 attracting 165 athletes and 40 coaches from across Ontario for the five day event.
Dave Bradley, the Event Chair and the Vice Chair, Lake Superior Ski Division Alpine expects it will take budget of just over $300,000 to host the national event with an economic impact of over one million dollars expected.
“We are running the event in conjuction with Canada 150, our country’s anniversary, so we will have a really exciting program for the athletes off the hill that will bring them a little closer to what it is to be a Canadian here in Northwest Ontario,” said Bradley noting they want to ensure visiting athletes have a powerful and memorable experience tied to various cultural and social events over their six days here.
The Lake Superior Ski Division Alpine along with Loch Lomond Ski Hill is looking to build capacity to further meet Federation International Ski requirements for hosting future championship events.
“We do have a high level slalom run here,” said Jason Gerry, the General Manager at Loch Lomond Ski Area.
“So the ability for us to host a FIS level slalom race is something that has the potential to become an annual event,” added Gerry noting that hosting a national championship again may not come back for some time.