Last week's site inspection in Whistler by nine ESPN executives is being viewed as a positive step forward in Whistler's bid to host a Winter X Games event in 2013 through 2015, part of ESPN's expansion strategy to host six events worldwide.
Members of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for the Whistler bid spent two days last week touring the ESPN team through proposed venues, reviewing event concepts and associated budgets.
"We feel very positive following our meetings with ESPN last week," said Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb's President and Chief Operating Officer.
"They were receptive to our plans, impressed with the venues, and enthusiastic about the existing programming and energy that the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival brings to the table. They also offered up valuable insight into their vision, indicating that they're keen to see each host city bring their own personality and unique attributes into the mix. It was a successful working session that has initiated what has the potential to be a strong partnership moving forward."
Various proposed plans were finalized during the two-day site visit, including the location of all venues. The snowmobile events would move from Whistler Olympic Park to the tube park at Base II on Blackcomb Mountain.
So far financial support is coming from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, and the accommodation sector - both financial and in-kind - to a total of $2.37 million. The LOC now has to work with provincial and federal authorities to secure additional funds to make the project economically viable to attract ESPN to confirm Whistler as a host city of the X Games.
"We're very excited about the possibilities," said Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler's President and CEO. "The Winter X Games Whistler represents an exceptional opportunity for Whistler, for British Columbia and for Canada."
ESPN's announcement of the chosen cities is expected in late April.