Sun Peaks Resort will be the snow sports venue for the 2018 BC Winter Games, an event officially being hosted by the city of Kamloops.
“We’re pleased that Kamloops got the bid, and we’re happy that we’ll participate as a host for some of the winter sports,” says Jamie Tattersfield, operations manager for Sun Peaks Resort.
Johnny Crichton, program director for the Sun Peaks Alpine Club, echoes that sentiment.
“Anytime you can have a high profile event on your home hill that targets the age of kids in our program, it’s great news,” he says.
The BC Winter Games snow sports include able-bodied and para-alpine skiing, able-bodied and para-Nordic skiing, freestyle skiing and biathlon, all of which are expected to be hosted at Sun Peaks.
“Certainly, anything to do with alpine, the skiing, the freestyle, the biathalon will be up (at Sun Peaks),” says Kelly Mann, CEO of the BC Games Society, “cross-country as well.”
The facilities at Sun Peaks are well established, but biathlon will be new to the resort.
“If biathalon is to come here then there’s going to have to be some work done around that, but I’m not sure of the scope of that yet,” explains Tattersfield.
Also on the radar before 2018 is hosting some more events on the mountain.
“Leading up to the games we hope to have a few test events that will have a direct economic impact on the hill and the community,” says Crichton. “We hope to host the U14 Provincials (the same age bracket as the BC Winter Games) in the next few years to prepare.”
Mann expects that the BC Winter Games themselves could bring upwards of 300 athletes, parents and managers to the resort.
“I believe the plan is to sleep them all up (at Sun Peaks),” Mann says, adding that the athletes would go to Kamloops for the opening and closing ceremonies.
In figures measured from the 2008 Kimberley/Cranbrook BC Winter Games, $1.8 million came into the communities as a direct result from hosting the games. That number was up by approximately $500,000 from the 2000 Quesnel games.
“What I attribute that to is more parents coming and watching their kids compete,” says Mann. “In 2000 we had a different model where it was purely recreational athletes, now they’re developmental athletes, they’re on their way to provincial level, national level competitions. . . . So, because they can only come once in whatever sport they compete in, it’s important for mom and dad to come watch that because it’s a significant competition in their child’s lives.”
That’s good news for driving business to the community while the game’s on. In the meantime, there’s positive anticipation.
“The BC Games themselves are great because of the premise of them — athletes, coaches, volunteers . . . come together in one location for fun, friendly competition,” says Crichton. “They create lots of community spirit and a ripple effect of excitement that goes from the competitors right through the volunteers to the whole province. They’re a celebration of sport, (of) our great province and of all the people that spend so much time and energy helping kids become better athletes, students, and citizens. I for one am very excited and look forward to the 2018 BC Winter Games!”