Efforts are ramping up to prepare for the Canada Winter Games in Prince George next year and a local club is doing its part to help out on the slopes.
The Smithers Ski Club has begun assembling a volunteer team to travel east to help set up courses at the Purden Ski Village in February.
“We just felt that it was part of the commitment to sport and ski racing in the north to make sure we’re involved to help things run as good as they possibly could,” said Gary Huxtable, president of the Smithers Ski Club.
Huxtable said eight volunteers have already come forward to dedicate their time and effort to the Games, four of whom have extensive experience on the World Cup stage within North America.
“Everybody who has signed up so far has had years of experience with that through the Smithers Ski Club and holding events on Hudson Bay Mountain,” he said. “It’s not stuff that’s new to us. We’ve just felt it’s important to make sure that we did what we could to make the Canada Winter Games events a success.”
The team will spend 11 days there setting up for the alpine ski races. They will act as course crew and help set up netting, gates, flags on the gates, helping smooth starts and moving equipment around.
Philippe Bernier, who worked with Alpine Canada for 10 years as the events director, has signed up to join the team.
“I used to be the one on the other side of the fence and showing the volunteers how to properly organize a race,” he said. “I’ll be able to give back because I’ll be on the other side being a volunteer and already knowing what needs to be done. Hopefully, we can all help out and make sure the race can be as good as it can be for the kids.”
Bernier also made recommendations to the Games committee about developing the track and is excited to see what they’ve done with it.
“I would like to make sure that we help the volunteers and teach them how to properly run a race and hopefully there is a legacy that is built through the Games for northern B.C. so that even the Smithers Ski Club can profit from having a great race track,” added Bernier.
But they are still looking for more volunteers.
“It’s a huge undertaking that Prince George has taken on and if there are people out there in the community having the time available and are willing to take the time to help out,” said Huxtable. “We won’t see a Canada Winter Games this close to our community for some time to come and it’s important to get out there and help amateur sport as much as we possibly can.”
Any interested volunteers can contact Huxtable at email@example.com.