Whistler is preparing to host men’s World Cup downhill and super G events again — but they won’t be in December. Peter Webb, president of the W5 Foundation, received council’s support for the bid on Monday. He was to seek support from the Whistler Resort Association board of directors today (Aug. 27). The dates for the events are Jan. 29-Feb. 3 in 2002, right before the Salt Lake City Olympics. Webb said Alpine Canada supports the bid and has made a commitment of up to $250,000 to help finance the events. The FIS have also indicated they would look favourably at a bid for those dates from Whistler. A decision by the FIS World Cup committee will be made during meetings Oct. 7-9 in Milan, Italy. Whistler had secured a long-term commitment from the FIS and Alpine Canada to hold men’s World Cup speed events each December, but after early season races were wiped out three years in a row (1996-1998) by snow storms no one wants to schedule events for Whistler early in the winter. Instead, Lake Louise will be the Canadian stop on the men’s World Cup tour this coming December. Webb said he believes that will be the case again next winter. The FIS is not generally interested in moving the World Cup tour to North America in mid-winter, but with the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 there is a desire to have World Cup events on this continent prior to the Games. More importantly, Webb said successfully hosting the World Cup races in 2002 would aid the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympic bid. The International Olympic Committee will award the 2010 Games in 2003. "If we get this nailed down and the (2003) snowboard world championships we’ll have a pretty good set of events leading up to the Olympic decision," Webb said. Blackcomb is already hosting the freestyle world championships in 2001. The FIS will award the 2003 snowboard world championships next spring. The budget for the 2002 World Cup races is $1.6 million, and the races are forecast to show a loss of approximately $360,000. However, Webb said with Alpine Canada’s commitment of $250,000, the title rights to the race secured and commitments from Whistler-Blackcomb there is a $140,000 cushion built in to the budget. Meanwhile, Webb said the role of the Hongkong Bank of B.C. — which originally produced the interest-free $3 million loan to finance the snowmaking necessary for December World Cup races — in the 2002 World Cup events has not been determined. "The Hongkong Bank is continuing their involvement with the December WinterStart festival," Webb said. "We owe them $2.7 million. We had worked on a proposal to help pay off the loan which would have given them some naming rights, but that wasn’t what they were after. "We’re working on a plan to repay the loan, and they’re being very reasonable and fair about it. But they do want their money back."