The upgrades have already begun for the Canada Winter Games, more than three years ahead of the event.
While passersby inside the city can easily see the infrastructure project underway at the Kin Centres, some more key building is underway on the outskirts as well. Tabor Mountain Ski Resort, about 20 minutes east of town on Highway 16, has been clearing trees and hauling dirt all summer, and with the first flakes of snow there indicate, time is short to beef up the various Games sites on their property.
Tabor will be home to many events. On the snowboard side the mountain will host half-pipe, snowboard-cross and slope-style while on the freestyle skiing side Tabor will handle the moguls, aerials, slope-style and half-pipe competitions.
All of them require specialized terrain design, technical infrastructure, and a lot of space. The installation of these elements - expensive and labour intensive - is what is underway now.
We are building something Prince George can be proud of both during the Games and after. This place is changing forever, said mountain owner Fern Thibault. So much is going on it is hard to keep it all straight.
Doing the work this far in advance has many advantages, said Flynn Seddon, the technical consultant for Snowboard Canada who was in Prince George on Friday to examine the progress. The faster the work is done, the faster athletes can starting working the features, the more coaches and officials can prepare, and the better position the entire sport will be in when Game-time arrives.
We are excited to see this development and expansion and the legacy it will leave behind, Seddon said. It will really help the growth of amateur snowboarding here in northern B.C. There are options [at Tabor] to potentially host national championships and maybe even a World Cup event. [This is] setting a nice platform not just restricted to snowboard for future sporting events here beyond 2015.
James Hudson, coach and president of the Prince George Freestyle Club said his athletes were already salivating at the facilities they will have in their own back yard. Three of their members have already gone on to Olympic Games, and others have been high on the national stage, so the youth movement in the area already understands it is possible to be elite. The blueprints on Tabor Mountains table are also their blueprints to international success.
All my students are really excited about this, he said. To have facilities on par with the provincial and national level anywhere in Canada is energizing for them as well as the coaches.
Thibaults son and daughter epitomize the butterflies in local athletes tummies over the construction work on the hill. Mitchell is a coach and Meryeta is a competitor in the snowcross category.
The level of riders we will have in Prince George is crazy, Mitchell said. We will have a course beyond the levels of the past and go up to the national and international standards.
Some of the work will take bulldozers, some will take tweezers, and not all of it can be accomplished this year, but organizers promised that Tabor Mountain will be a whole new facility even for this years snow lovers.