Next month Prince George will be hosting its first world championship.
Organizers for the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championship are busy preparing for the 10-day event happening February 15-24.
Kevin Pettersen, chairperson of the 2019 World Para Nordic Skiing Championship, attended city council’s regular meeting on Jan.7 to give an update on the upcoming international event.
“We believe we are a special part of our community and love to share and get as many people involved as we can,” says Pettersen, of the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club who are hosting the championships.
The Caledonia Nordic Ski Club previously hosted skiing, biathlon, and Para Nordic for the 2015 Canada Games.
“Before 2015 we came up with a strategic plan which outlined the facilities we would need to get us to 2015 but also the 15-20 years beyond,” says Pettersen. “We kind of made the foundation for what we are doing right now.”
He says during this time, representatives from the International Paralympic Committee encouraged them to apply for the world championships.
Prince George was formally awarded the event on Dec. 9, 2016.
“This is the first world championships that the city of Prince George has ever hosted and the first time the World Para Nordic Championships have been hosted here in Canada so it’s a very special moment for us and you guys,” says Pettersen.
The Word Para Nordic Skiing Championships are held every two years and include more than 20 countries and 140 athletes who compete over a 10-day period.
Para Nordic includes both Para Nordic Skiing and Para biathlon including sit ski, standing, and visually impaired athletes.
The 2019 Championships will also mark the first time the event will be live streamed to over 2 million people watching around the globe.
Pettersen said he and the local organizing committee are not only focusing on the event but the lasting legacies that will come from hosting the championships.
“Some of the key legacies are accessibility at the facility, an amazing snowmaking system now and broadband connectivity which has enabled that live streaming to put this event on the world stage,” he says, adding the goal is to be able to host other world-class events in the future.
Pettersen said the economic benefit of the championships is estimated to be $5 million.
To find out more about the upcoming world championships, you can check out Caledonia Nordic Ski Club’s website.