Spirits high as VANOC gains valuable experience at first official Sport Event

    WHISTLER, BC, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) concluded its field-of-play
testing today at the first official Sport Event. With four days of clear
weather conditions and successful course preparation, alpine athletes and
officials from around the world have stated that the alpine courses for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will set the stage for exciting and
challenging competition in 2010. VANOC was commended by the International Ski
Federation's (FIS) Gunter Hujara, chief race director, who complimented VANOC
for being the first Organizing Committee to have its alpine venues completed
and tested two years in advance of the Games.
    "The results of our testing over the past week have confirmed that we are
on track to delivering world-class alpine ski events in 2010. The courses
remained in excellent condition throughout the four days of competition, our
staff have gained valuable field-of-play experience, and we continue to learn
from the well-established and very experienced volunteer culture that is part
of alpine skiing," said Tim Gayda, VANOC's vice president, Sport.
    "One of the ironies with such favourable weather conditions during the
event was that we did not have the opportunity to push our on-hill crews to
the limit with respect to course maintenance in challenging weather
conditions. While specific testing for alpine is complete, we'll continue to
seek opportunities to test logistics and operations impacted by weather that
are common across all outdoor events," Gayda concluded.
    Testing included the mobilization of an 800-person volunteer workforce;
roles and responsibilities of the Chiefs of Course and VANOC workforce;
snowmaking; grooming; safety systems; technical and logistical components of
race-day operations; and collaboration with the International Ski Federation.
    Upon the conclusion of the four-day competition, the following are the
key outcomes and learnings from the field of play testing:

    Course Preparation: VANOC tested the ongoing maintenance of the two
Olympic courses - Franz's Run, for the ladies, and the Dave Murray Downhill,
for the men, successfully achieving optimal course conditions for each day of
competition. Testing of this component included the efficient movement of
course workers and machinery, and the maintenance of consistent snow
conditions on the course to ensure a hard surface. With heavy snowfall in
advance of the event, course workers were able to test course preparation,
which included snow clearing and track preparation. This event marks the only
time between now and 2010 that both Olympic courses will be closed to simulate
Games-time readiness.

    Weather: Predicting weather conditions and trends is critical to the
scheduling of training and competition runs. Working with Environment Canada,
VANOC was able to accurately predict weather conditions and alter the schedule
accordingly to effectively conclude all training and competition runs. For
example, the start of the Ladies Downhill on Friday was moved up by 30 minutes
to ensure consistent conditions throughout the competition.

    Workforce: The event workforce was able to gain valuable experience in a
race-time environment and identify potential roles and responsibilities for
the workforce in 2010. Alpine skiing has a strong and established volunteer
culture that VANOC was able to learn from throughout the planning and
execution of the event. Recognizing that there is a distinct volunteer culture
for individual sports, VANOC will continue to draw upon alpine skiing's
extensive event volunteer experience to develop sport volunteer workforce
plans that will be critical to the successful staging of the 2010 Winter

    Additional learnings and athlete reaction: Although not a component that
was being tested, VANOC was able to gain valuable insight into elements of
spectator services. As this was the first World Cup held in Whistler in over a
decade, interest and enthusiasm for attending the event reaffirms the
importance of planning, by VANOC, to provide an optimal spectator experience
in 2010.
    VANOC was particularly heartened by reaction from athletes, such as
Canadian alpine ski team member Kelly VanderBeek, who said, "I've seen the
course, and I love it from top to bottom. This experience was world-class from
the moment I got to Whistler."

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com for the
latest information.

For further information:

For further information: please contact: Mary Fraser, VANOC Media
Relations, (778) 328-3667; Suzanne Walters, VANOC Media Relations, (778)

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