It’s been about a year since the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games decided they needed to give local Nordic clubs a hand.
VANOC knew it needed a strong group of Nordic organizers on the ground to help with on and off-venue logistics of the test events, which will start in just a few months, were to be a success. So it began to nose around the corridor for key people who could get an organizing committee for the Callaghan Valley venue up and running.
Although initially reluctant, Denise Imbeau, the manager of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce, was pressed into service by VANOC and today the Callaghan Valley Local Organizing Committee (CALOC) is up and running.
“Our organization is not just about Squamish it is corridor wide,” said Imbeau, CALOC’s new managing director, who admits that at the start of the whole process she barely knew what cross-country skis looked like.
“The Nordic community is not developed and they don’t have a profile. They don’t have any one thing that will get them to solidify and so I am hoping that the 2010 Games will be the thing to bring it all together.”
So far about 170 people have given Imbeau their names to help out with events at the Callaghan venue.
It’s likely many more will sign up as Nordic groups from Whistler, Pemberton, the North Shore and elsewhere start to get involved.
VANOC’s director of Nordic sports, John Aalberg, said he is working closely with CALOC.
“They are basically in charge of all the off-venue organizing elements for these upcoming events while VANOC will operate and run the venue and do the on-venue work,” he said.
“They will help organize the banquets and the race invitations, the race headquarters, all the accommodation and transportation and the stuff that is needed for the teams as well.”
According to a recent Request for Proposal for food service at the Callaghan, there will be as many as 830 athletes, coaches, and officials daily at some events this winter, along with up to 500 spectators.
Aalberg expects they will be need between 150 and 200 volunteers at events.
Several key events this winter include the Canadian National Championships/North American Juniors Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined from Jan. 2 to 5, 2008; the B.C. Cup Cross Country Jan. 19 and 20; the FIS Cup Ski Jumping Feb. 27 and 28; the Continental Cup Ski Jumping Feb. 29 to March 2; the Canadian National Championships Cross Country March 16 to 23; and the Canadian National Championships Biathlon March 25 and 30.