As Whistler gears up to host the 2017 edition of Subaru Ironman Canada this Sunday, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), Tourism Whistler (TW) and Ironman Canada announced an extension for the event on Friday morning.
Whistler will continue to host Ironman through 2020.
"We are proud to welcome dedicated Ironman athletes, along with their coaches, families and support teams for both training and competition," Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said in a release.
"Hosting the Subaru Ironman Canada events in Whistler has generated approximately $42 million in economic activity over the past four years. Looking ahead, even though Whistler's economy is currently thriving, the Subaru Ironman events help us to ensure our economic resiliency in the future. The Subaru Ironman Canada events also fit with our sport culture and build on our reputation as a world class destination for events."
About 2,900 athletes from 33 countries are registered for the 2017 event, with about 10,000 spectators expected to cheer them on, the release said, adding that Ironman has also provided more than $200,000 to charities and not-for-profit organizations in Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton.
"As we celebrate the 35th edition of Ironman in Canada, we are thrilled to continue this defining and incredibly scenic race in the series of global events," said Shane Facteau, Chief Operating Officer for Ironman, in the release.
"We have had a great partnership with the community of Whistler since 2013 and look to further that as we promote the whole region with these events. Our athletes truly enjoy accomplishing their dreams in British Columbia and can expect world-class experiences with this amazing destination for years to come."
While several Whistler stakeholders — including TW, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Association of Whistler and Restaurant Association of Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, and Whistler Sport Legacies — support hosting the event, not everyone is onboard with the renewal at this point.
Both the Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District voted in recent weeks to not support the renewal of the event, citing overwhelming safety concerns on the Pemberton Meadows Road.
With that in mind, Ironman, the RMOW and TW say they are working with event stakeholders to address the concerns, and the route for the cycling component during 2018 to 2020 is still under discussion.
For full details on road closures for the 2017 event, head to www.whistler.ca/culture-recreation/events-and-festivals/ironman.
Pick up next week's Pique for more on this story.