Cross Country Canada (CCC) in cooperation with Cross Country Yukon is pleased to announce that the 2016 Haywood Ski Nationals have been awarded to the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club.
The community last hosted the Ski Nationals in 2010 when over 420 skiers from across Canada and Alaska participated in the Championships.
Approximately 500 skiers, representing the elite of the national ski community, are expected to attend the 2016 event. They will be supported by coaches, team staff, families and fans of top notch ski racing. There will be five races in the series, running the gamut from sprints to long distance races. The Ski Nationals will kick off on March 17, 2016 with the team sprints and will finish up eight days later with mass start competitions in 4 age categories.
“The Events Committee made the selection based on the excellent facilities available in Whitehorse, the close proximity between accommodations and the ski trails and the solid performance of local skiers on the national and international stages,” commented Dave Dyer, Event Director at Cross Country Canada. The Whitehorse club finished as the 2nd best club in the country at the 2014 Haywood Ski Nationals recently hosted by the Blow Me Down Ski Club in Cornerbrook, Nfld. and have traditionally finished among the top 6 clubs in championship action.
Hosting the races locally provides a bonus for the local ski community, giving home field advantage to the Yukon Ski Team, plus gives local officials and volunteers the opportunity to showcase their talents. Yukon normally nominates 12-18 athletes to compete at the national championships, but having the races in Whitehorse means more skiers will have the opportunity to compete. In 2010 the Yukon fielded 29 skiers from midget ages to senior. Watching and competing beside the best in the country is an inspiration for the next generation of young racers.
While having a significant impact on skier development throughout the local ski community, the event also provides a boost to the local economy. An economic evaluation completed after the 2010 Nationals estimated the event provided a net benefit of over $1 million to the Yukon economy.
Yukon skiers are thrilled. “I’m really looking forward to competing in my hometown in front of friends and family. Whitehorse always puts on a good show and I'm sure the 2016 Haywood Ski Nationals will be no exception,” stated Emily Nishikawa, hometown hero and 2014 Olympian.
Organizing the event is no trivial matter. Approximately 250 volunteers will need to be recruited and trained, infrastructure fine-tuned and grooming equipment upgraded.
Event Committee Chair Joan Stanton, reprising the role she filled for the 2010 race series, said that planning is already underway. “We have a steering committee set up to oversee the details. Our current focus is on getting key people in place, booking facilities and recruiting sponsors. Once winter comes, we’ll be moving on to volunteer training and attending the 2015 Haywood event in Thunder Bay.”
All races will take place on the ski trails at the Whitehorse Nordic Centre. The event will wrap up with a banquet at the Canada Games Centre.