Photo by Dan Hudson
CALGARY, AB (November 12, 2008) - Nakiska Ski Area has been designated a national training centre by Alpine Canada Alpin, which will also use the famed 1988 Winter Games resort as a major staging site for Canada’s medal hopefuls in advance of the 2010 Olympics.
The Alberta resort, where Canadian Karen Percy Lowe won two Olympic medals in 1988, will also continue to be used as a pre-season training facility in advance of upcoming World Cup seasons as part of a seven-year partnership signed with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.
Millions of dollars have been spent jointly by the Alberta Government and operator Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) to upgrade training facilities and add modern safety equipment to upgrade the resort to current international standards.
Nakiska operators are hopeful the resort can in the future also be upgraded to allow for the staging of World Cup technical events such as slalom, which are infrequently held in Canada.
“This agreement ensures Nakiska Ski Area remains an important location for high performance training and sport development,” said Cindy Ady, Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “Alberta’s support to refurbish Olympic legacy facilities at the Canmore Nordic Centre and the Centre of Sport Excellence Project in Calgary helps Canadian athletes on the road to 2010 and beyond and further establishes this province as a centre of winter sports excellence.”
The ski area opened for national ski team training Nov.10, providing athletes from Canada with the ability to use mountain facilities and designated racing space before the resort opens to the public on Dec. 6. Built as the resort to host 1988 Winter Olympic alpine events, the family-oriented ski area has hosted pre-season race training for the past eighteen years.
“Our new partnership with Nakiska Ski Area provides Canadian ski racers with exceptional training space and improved facilities needed to reach our goals and achieve podium results,” said ACA President Gary Allan. “Recent improvement made by Nakiska and the Alberta Government showcase the province’s exceptional commitment to helping Canadian ski racers achieve our Olympic goals.”
As part of the partnership, Alpine Canada Alpin and its athletes will receive:
* A training centre founded on a “Canada first” based partnership.
* A no cost training site for ACA and Alberta Alpine athletes.
* A guaranteed training site from early November of each year.
* Terrain exclusive to racing and training, entirely separate from the public use areas.
* Safety systems to current FIS standards
* A location suitable for FIS, NORAM and World Cup technical events
* The ability to fundraise through the sale of naming rights
* Exposure via RCR’s websites and Nakiska specific marketing materials
Nakiska operators working collaboratively with the Alberta Government recently made a number of enhancements at the ski area that will benefit both athlete training and overall guest experience.
These improvements include widening three training runs to 60 metres, extending the core training run Mapmaker by 650 metres, adding 11 kilometres of safety B-netting, enhanced snowmaking on Mapmaker from top to bottom, and an overall 40% increase in snowmaking capabilities.
Both the main daylodge and mid-mountain lodges have been upgraded, as well as the main base-area lift, the Silver Chair.
Every year, 75% - 85% of the racing field at the annual Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup trains at Nakiska prior to the event.
Said Jan Sekerak, Area Manager of Nakiska: "Nakiska is proud to be the consistent pre-season host to the top alpine ski racing teams, including World Cup and Olympic champions, each November. We look forward to supporting the Canadian Alpine Ski Team as an official ACA training centre, as they prepare for this season's races, including the World Championships and the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games."
Nakiska, known as “Calgary’s Closest Mountain” is also an ideal learning facility for those new to the sports of skiing and snowboarding. Nakiska offers a variety of learn to ski and family packages, and fosters the development of Canada’s future skiing champions by hosting public schools, ski clubs, and provincial teams throughout the entire ski season.
Other countries including Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Great Britian, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Monaco will also be using Nakiska to train this fall.
Canada’s able-bodied and para-alpine ski teams combined to achieve a total of 74 World Cup podium finishes last season. CAST has improved from 12th in the World Cup standings in 2003 to sixth place last season while the CPAST team finished a record-setting second overall last season. Both teams enter critical period’s with World Championships taking place later this season followed by the 2010 Olympic Winter Games just two winters away.
Nakiska is famous for its world-class grooming and close proximity to Calgary. Known as “Calgary’s Closest Mountain”, Nakiska is part of the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR) Family. RCR is one of the largest ski resort owners/operators in North America, owning five ski resorts across Canada, including Fernie Alpine Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta; and Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham in Québec. RCR aims to provide each and every guest The Ultimate Experience.
ABOUT ALPINE CANADA ALPIN
Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA) is the governing body for alpine ski racing in Canada with more than 50,000 athletes, coaches, officials and volunteer members and over 200,000 supporting members. ACA manages the high performance programs for the athletes of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team who represent Canada throughout the world. For more information on Alpine Canada Alpin, visit canski.org www.canski.org.