While the Austrian ski team no longer carves the OSV run at Sun Peaks Resort, the mountain expects a record number of Canadian and U.S. teams to start its season.
“We expect a steady influx of teams,” Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks said Wednesday. “That’s good early season business.”
The resort built a buzz around hosting the Austrian teams in the years before the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. But that buzz was bigger than the economic impact of a maximum of 40 racers, coaches and staff.
The mountain built a reputation for early season race training based on that experience.
Nicolson said while it’s early to predict, as many as 20 Canadian and American teams, at the provincial, state and club level will come in early November following in the wake of the Austrians.
That should translate into 200 to 250 people on the mountain beginning in the second week of November and through the month.
Nicolson said Sun Peaks, Alberta’s Kananaskis and Panorama near Invermere are the premier host mountains in the west for early season race training.
The mountain is targeting higher skier numbers overall this season, based in part on last year’s snowpack.
“Typically, if you have a strong snowfall it bodes well for the upcoming season,” he said. “There’s a hangover and it can go both ways.”
Nicolson said the increase in visits is expected both in locals and tourists.
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Sun Peaks outdoor rink delayed
Sun Peaks municipality won’t start construction on a new rink this year, pushing back the schedule on its community recreation facility.
Mayor Al Raine said the municipality was hoping to have construction started on the $600,000 outdoor rink, complete with refrigeration, but has been delayed because the provincial government has not yet handed over a five-hectare land grant.
Plans include a rink that will be later converted to an indoor venue, along with sports fields. It could also one day be home to a public school, Raine said.
But it cannot move ahead without the grant of provincial land.
The municipality received $400,000 from the provincial government for the project.
While the rink is delayed, Raine said construction is ongoing for a softball field, something he predicted will help the social side of the new municipality.
“I pushed hard for that based on my experience in Whistler. The minute we had diamonds, the hotels had teams. It’s very social.”