Kids of all ages competed in the Canadian national championships two weekends ago in Calgary, Canada. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined were on full display in front of a great crowd– possibly for the last time.
WinSport Management, the organization who runs the National Sports Center in Calgary, closed down the ski jumps on October 29th. This will leave 65 kids in the Altius Nordic Ski Club without a venue to train or compete.
Three years ago, the ski jumps faced the same fate. Only to be saved by a sponsorship which covered costs for three years. This time around, time is running out for such heroics.
Calgary is currently in the midst of making an Olympic bid. There is a proposal to host the Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined events in Whistler, British Columbia. The distance between Calgary and Whistler is 915 km or 10.5 hours of driving. This is the equivalent to hosting the Olympics in Salt Lake City and having athletes compete in Lake Tahoe, California.
On the 13th, Calgarians will vote on whether or not they want the Olympics. A successful bid on the Olympics could open up some positive scenarios for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in Canada.
Todd Stretch, the Chairman and President of Ski Jumping Canada states the goal is to, “Keep the legacy of ski jumping alive.”
When asked about the future, Todd Stretch says, “Looking at a worst-case scenario, maybe we would look to build new jumps (small hills) somewhere else. Everyone is committed on the board. It’s no different than the US, it’s a tight-knit organization, we love the sport and we want to see Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined continue in the long term.”
The jumps were built in 1986, just prior to the 1988 Calgary Olympics. While they are old and obviously need work, an engineer from Austria recently visited the jumps and said, “there is still life left in these hills.”
To preserve that life, it is essential to spread awareness and show that this does matter to people- not only within the Calgary community but also outside of it.