A blustery north wind might blow cool next weekend in Fort St. John, but weather will not be a concern for a group of Prince George Blizzard Speed skating club members tracking down provincial titles.
They will travel north for their first chance to skate indoors on 400-metre oval at the newly-opened Fort St. John Enerplex to compete in the WorkSafe B.C. provincial long track championships.
To prepare for the event, the Blizzard club attended a long track meet last weekend in Fort St. James and has been training weekly at the Exhibition Park outdoor oval. However, weather variables the past couple weeks resulted in cancellations of the Wednesday night long track practices.
"We're fortunate we have the dedicated ice and quite happy they've allowed us to do that," said Blizzard head coach Carol Dennison.
"It lets the kids go fast, and then you don't have to worry about people getting hurt. For us, it's good and safe."
Fort St. John and Calgary will be the only two cities in Canada's with permanent indoor ovals once the Olympic oval in Richmond is converted to a general sports facility after the Winter Games,
--- Teams have been announced for the B.C. Winter Games in Terrace, March 4-7, and the Zone 8 (Cariboo-North East) team consists of seven Prince George skaters and one from Fort St. John. In the junior female category are Carley Budac and Morgan Swan, while Lucas Hiller and Kayne Dressler of Fort St. John will compete in the junior male category. All four juvenile-aged (12-13 year-olds) skaters are Blizzard athletes. Caroline Hiller and Erica Kreitz are in the juvenile female events, while and Nicolas Hiller and Rylan Gaudet will be in the juvenile male competition.
Games organizers will be drawing on the expertise of Blizzard club parents and administrators to help stage short track speed skating events.
--- Several Blizzard club members will be taking part in the 2010 Olympics as volunteers. Blizzard skaters Sarah Pousette is a forerunner and track steward for the long track events, while Trevor Rasmussen and Adam Ingle are track stewards for the short track races. Sue Rasmussen will be a Games volunteer working as a clerk for short track.