Whistler Olympic Park ski jump stadium delivers on promise of world-class 2010 Winter Games venue

    (La version française sera diffusé sous peu dans vancouver2010.com/fr.)

    WHISTLER, BC, Jan. 4 /CNW/ - With the Canadian National Ski Jumping and
Nordic Combined Championships underway at Whistler Olympic Park, the ski jump
facilities at the venue for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games have met
the expectations of North America's best jumpers.
    "The ski jump was awesome and the view from the top is really perfect,"
said Zoya Lynch, member of Canada's national ski jumping team. "This is a
great location and the hill was prepared well."
    "The facilities at Whistler Olympic Park are perfect for training and
competition of Nordic combined athletes given the proximity of the
cross-country ski trails to the jumping hills," said Walt Savill, director of
operations with Nordic Combined Ski Canada. "The past week of training and
competition here has certainly surpassed our expectations and we anticipate
this being a major training facility for us."
    Athletes began training on December 28, when a total of 24 men and women
on Canada's national ski jumping and Nordic combined teams took the first test
jumps on the new venue. Training continued daily until January 1, with the
athletes completing more than 2,000 jumps prior to the start of the first
official competition. The North American Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined
Junior Championships were held on January 2-3, while the Canadian National Ski
Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships, with over 60 athletes competing
from the US and Canada, are scheduled to be completed by Saturday, January 5.
These events will determine the top male and female junior ski jumpers and
Nordic combined junior skiers in North America, and the top overall male and
female ski jumping and Nordic combined athletes in Canada.
    Over the course of the first week, feedback from coaches and athletes has
focused on the design of the new ski jump facilities that have incorporated
several critical sport-specific considerations, including:
    -   stable and consistent wind conditions, which are required for optimal
    -   three systems to ensure consistent in-run track surface conditions,
        including a world class in-run track setting system, a snow
        refrigeration system and a track covering system
    -   a dedicated chairlift, providing athletes and coaches with quick and
        easy access to the jumps

    Despite severe wind advisories for most of the BC Coastal Region this
week, wind conditions at Whistler Olympic Park were calm and consistent. Heavy
snow conditions all week resulted in the successful use of the mechanical
track covering system on the in-run. These weather conditions also resulted in
the postponement of Thursday's team competition due to accumulated snow on the
out-run; the postponed team competition is tentatively scheduled for
Saturday, January 5. The refrigeration system, which freezes the in-run
tracks, was activated on the Large Hill today, allowing for jumping despite
heavy snowfall. The dedicated chairlift is providing athletes with a
six-minute turnaround between the jumps of individual skiers, ensuring maximum
use of the jumps as an efficient training facility for the National Team.
    "The first days of use at any new venue are a learning opportunity. Every
day we delivered a world-class venue and gained more practical experience to
enhance the operations and athlete experience," said John Heilig, manager for
ski jumping and Nordic combined with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for
the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). "Despite the
postponement of the team competition on Thursday, overall we are very
satisfied with our first full week of operations."
    Added Heilig, "These first events staged on the ski jumps at Whistler
Olympic Park also provided volunteers from Nordic Combined Ski Canada (NCSC),
Ski Jumping Canada and the Callaghan Valley Local Organizing Committee (CALOC)
with the opportunity to work together and share best practices. Interest and
awareness of these sports is growing, and we look forward to building a strong
volunteer base to support the venue. The expertise gained by volunteers from
events such as these and others in the coming years, will greatly contribute
to the success of the 2010 Winter Games."
    "As we expected, Whistler Olympic Park is proving to be a valuable
training facility, not only for men, but also for young women ski jumpers as
they further develop their sport to successfully meet criteria for IOC
(International Olympic Committee) consideration for future Olympic Winter
Games," said Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC's executive vice president,
Sport, Paralympic Games and Venue Management. "We know the women jumpers have
their sights set on competing in the Games someday - and we are pleased to
contribute to the development of their sport, with hopes for inclusion at
future Olympic Winter Games."
    All three stadia at Whistler Olympic Park (cross-country skiing, biathlon
and ski jumping) are now open and available for athlete training and
competition, meeting VANOC's commitment to complete the venues two years
before the Games. In addition, the Whistler Olympic Park cross-country ski
trails are proving popular for recreational use; an estimated
5,000 recreational skiers have used the trails since they opened on
December 15. "Whistler Olympic Park is now meeting both the training and
competition needs of all Nordic athletes, and offering a challenging and
spectacularly scenic new venue for cross-country ski enthusiasts of all ages
and skill levels," said John Aalberg, VANOC's director for Whistler Olympic

    Photos and video clips from the preliminary test jumps at Whistler
Olympic Park, as well as competitions held this past week, are available in
high resolution format at ftp://2010ftp.vancouver2010.com (username:
MediaVenueDay, password: thesc00p). (Photo credits: VANOC / Brad Kasselman -

    Upcoming events to be staged at the ski jumps at Whistler Olympic Park

    -   2008_02_03          FIS Cup Ski Jumping (5-8 countries)
    -   2008_02_27-28       FIS Cup Ski Jumping (5-8 countries)
    -   2008_03_1-2         FIS Continental Cup Ski Jumping (12-16 countries)

    During the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the ski jumping
competitions start on February 12 and continue through February 22, while the
Nordic combined competitions run from February 14 through February 25. Tickets
for the ski jumping are priced between $80 and $120 while tickets for the
Nordic combined events are priced between $50 and $120. Additional information
on ski jumping and Nordic combined can be found at www.vancouver2010.com while
details on operations at Whistler Olympic Park are available at

    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.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Stephane Delisle, Vancouver
2010, (778) 328-1186; Mary Fraser, Vancouver 2010, (778) 328-3667

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