Future of FIS Speed Ski World Cup stop uncertain

Simone Origone of Italy broke the Velocity Challenge record previously held by Sun Peaks local Kenny Dale. SPIN Photo.

This winter the Velocity Challenge & FIS Speed Skiing World Cup will take a hiatus once again as the board of directors restructures the event. Generally held in March, it started in 1988 as a local event and grew over 30 years to become the only FIS Speed Skiing event in North America. The event was also paused for one year in 2012.

A ski resort in Switzerland will take Sun Peaks’ usual stop in the circuit.

“We’re re-evaluating our core group of volunteers and sponsorship models to help carry on the event and keep it at the resort as an international sanctioned World Cup,” said Scott Coleman, event organizer. “We decided to take a year off to do that and that we have not made a final decision to stop hosting them, but we need to figure that part out and see if it has the legs to stay here.”

The annual competition takes roughly nine months of planning and fundraising to organize. Coleman relies heavily on a key group of volunteers from the community and on Sun Peaks Resort LLP to ensure the event’s success.

“A lot of our existing volunteers that have been key to organizing this event and running it for the last 30 years. We’re getting older so we’d like to see some of the younger folks carry on the tradition here at the mountain,” explained Coleman.

Last year’s event was extremely successful.A new course record of 179.55 kilometres per hour was set by Italy’s Simone Origone and they hosted three back-to-back World Cup events.

“Resorts contend for World Cup events. It’s a prestigious event to host, it takes a number of years to get a homologated course. You have to host races before they’re going to sanction you for a World Cup event. It’s something we don’t want to see go away because it would be hard to get back,” he said.  

Coleman is planning to hold a meeting to stir up more interest in the sport from the younger generation of skiers at Sun Peaks.

“We feel there’s a great opportunity for skiers that are at that 16 to 18 year range. They could compete on the World Cup circuit and do very well and actually place internationally,” he said.

Thankful for the community’s support, Coleman said he is hopeful the event will return with a shaper focus on World Cup speed skiing and larger corporate sponsors to keep the event on the mountain for years to come.

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