By Clare Ogilvie
More than a dozen Nordic enthusiasts will gather on Blackcomb Mountain this weekend to learn about volunteer positions at Whistler’s new ski jumps.
Clinic leaders will build a small jump out of snow and participants will get a chance to jump, measure, and learn about ski jump preparation said John Heilig, sport manager of ski jumping and Nordic Combined for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC).
“There is a need for a lot of sport-skilled volunteers and those are very interesting roles because you are up front with the athletes and the venues,” he said.
“These are sports that have no real history in the resort area so we are really hopeful that we will get a lot of volunteers to help us out with these. If people have interest there is certainly opportunity.”
VANOC is in the process of launching a volunteer website where anyone who is interested can sign up and get involved. The address is www.vancouver2010.com.
The new ski jumps will be located at the $115.7 million Nordic venue in the Callaghan Valley, just south of Whistler. The venue will be almost completed by this winter. Only the day lodge will need to be finished next year.
Several events are planned for early 2008 including:
• Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Nationals Jan. 4-6.
• Cross Country B.C. Cup Jan. 19-20.
• Ski Jumping Continental Cup and Nordic Combined World Cup "B" Feb. 29-March 2.
• Cross Country national championships March 16-24.
• Biathlon national championships March 24-30.
Each of these events, the upcoming World Cup test events, and indeed the Olympics will need hundreds of volunteers, both sport technical people and events helpers.
VANOC is looking across the country, and particularly in Calgary, host of the 1988 Winter Games, for volunteers. But it is also working closely with the three Nordic clubs in the Sea to Sky corridor to reach out into the communities to find new volunteers.
Heilig said there is special interest in getting a strong team of on-hill volunteers, not unlike the Weasel Workers, but for Nordic rather than alpine.
“We don’t even have that expertise anywhere else in Canada and being a big alpine community in Whistler we think there is a great opportunity to source that type of volunteer,” he said.
Typical jobs for this type of volunteer would be snow removal for the runs, and preparing the landing hill for the jumps. These are potentially critical roles as the Callaghan gets significant snow.