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Purden gearing up to host U16 provincial ski racing championships

Thirteen-year-old ski racer Gwenyth Bertucci practices for the U16 provincial championships at Purden later this month.

It’s been five years since the Prince George Alpine Ski Club helped to host the very best of Canada’s downhill youth racers at the 2015 Canada Winter Games. The legacy infrastructure and equipment installed at Purden Ski Village (about 70km east of Prince George) continues to benefit the club’s young competitors, the local mountain attraction, and the Prince George economy.

“If you’ve ever been part of an alpine race organizing committee, you can appreciate just how much work these events are to pull off,” said volunteer Club President, Eduard Hausot. “That said, with the construction of our dedicated race building and all the gear and technology that’s part of it, we’re highly motivated to keep bringing events here year after year and ensure we are leveraging the 2015 legacy for both the club and our community.”

The largest undertaking prior to the games, said Hausot, was construction of the race course itself. A significant off-season logging and rock-blasting project was undertaken to form the necessary width and pitches required for slalom racing. Additionally, the Games saw construction of a new on-site race centre. Situated at the base of the run, the upper level offers officials a birds-eye view of the racers while the lower level provides storage for over two kilometres of safety netting, countless shovels, race gates and specialized snow drills to install them.

“When we host clubs from other parts of the region, they are blown away with our timing gear that can clock finish times down to one one-thousandth of a second,” said Hausot.

While race course construction was funded through the 2015 Games budget, the race centre building was realized mostly through generous donations from local companies like Central Builders, Canfor and Royal LePage Realty, as well as in-club talent like carpenters and electricians.

“The legacy aspect of a project like this is far reaching,” said Rod McLeod, owner of local real estate firm of Royal LePage. “Not only are we keen to hitch our sponsorship wagon to star events like the races at Purden, but we are also proud to show off the terrific amenities we have in our community to those looking to move here.”

This past weekend the PG Ski Club hosted the TECK North Zone Race, with 50 athletes from other northern clubs including Quesnel, Smithers, Williams Lake and also Grande Prairie. As they’ve done previously, the army of local race volunteers took the opportunity fine tune their organizing and execution processes in advance of the upcoming U16 Provincial Championship at Purden that will draw over 150 racers, families and coaches from across B.C. at the end of March.

“We are always excited to host any of our TECK Series events at Purden,” said Anders Hestdalen, CEO of BC Alpine. “In addition to the amazing training opportunities and race infrastructure, it is great to see such a thoughtful course layout that allows for ample enjoyment of the mountain by all skiers who come out while races are happening. It’s a mountain Prince George should be truly proud of.”

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