Work to build a brand-new 2010 Olympic Cross-Country, Biathlon and Ski Jumping venue in Callaghan Valley is on schedule. While the British Columbian wilderness has posed some very unique challenges, the project should be complete by this autumn.
The Nordic Competition Venue will be located just 14km from the Whistler Olympic Village. At the end of November, a new 10 km road will open to take skiers into the venue from the Sea-to-Sky highway that links Vancouver and Whistler. Travel to Vancouver is then estimated to take about 75 min.
A total of 28 Olympic competitions will be carried out at the Nordic Venue including 12 Cross-Country, three Ski Jumping and three Nordic Combined events. Inside the venue, the two side-by-side jumping hills (HS 106 and HS140) will be flanked by a large rock statue of Illinak, the 2010 Inukshuk logo to welcome visitors. The company manufacturing and installing the large in-run steel structures is used to build roller-coasters for the Disney Company. The first of the two so-called “super structures,” made of massive steel trusses measuring ca. 24 meters in length by eight meters in width, just arrived on-site a few days ago. The second will follow later in July.
Near the ski jumps, the Day Lodge and Cross-Country stadium are coming out of the ground. The stadium is shaped as a horseshoe, with the skiers in view of the spectators for more than 800m. The technically challenging Olympic sprint loop is entirely in view from the main stadium bleachers.
The two separate 5 km competition courses are quite different in design: while the classical technique course consists of long, straight ups and down, the free technique course is more twisty and turny, with quite challenging downhills. Most of the competition trails are already finished, while work continues to shape the spectator areas, ski test areas and warm-up loops. The first competitions will include Canadian national events, with the FIS World Cup races following in the 2008/2009 season.
“All in all, we will have 14 km of competition trails at the Nordic Venue. If needed, we could combine the Cross-Country and Biathlon courses into a single 12.5-km loop,” said John Aalberg, Director, Nordic Sport at VANOC, the Vancouver Organizing Committee. “We are really pleased with the way the new courses combine the traditional Cross-Country feeling of ‘skiing in the woods’ with the sport’s modern aspects, such as 9-meter-wide trails and spectator friendliness.”