The first six months of 2021 have flown by with much behind the scenes work by the Black Tusk Organizing Committee and Board. We did our best to prepare for hosting the World Junior Trials at Whistler Olympic Park in January, which in the end were cancelled outright due to COVID. That said, Canada’s Juniors and U23s did compete in Finland in February and had some great results with Olivier Léveillé scoring Bronze in the 10km skate race, becoming just the third Canadian ever to win an individual medal at the Nordic Junior World Ski Championships.
February was also a very sad time for the entire ski community as we lost one of the champions of Nordic sport. John Heilig, our Board member and Nordic Jumping Lead, tragically passed away suddenly while on assignment in Beijing, commissioning the ski jumps for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. John was a tireless advocate for the jumping sports, instrumental in our pursuit of the 2023 Junior World Champs and will be dearly missed by all.
We have been fortunate that Nordic Jumping has rallied strongly and are pleased to announce that Kelly Johansson of Calgary has joined the Black Tusk Board and Rick Smith of Squamish has taken on the Nordic Jumping Lead role on the Organizing Committee. Both have a deep background in the jumping sports as technical officials and Olympic volunteers. This team, with the support of Jim Woolsey, Chair of Nordic Jumping BC, Nik Petrov as Technical Advisor and Mark Servold and Mark Rolseth, Chief of Competition for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined respectively puts us in a good position in our preparations.
We had originally scheduled to host the FIS Ski Jumping & Nordic Combined Continental Cup in December 2021 but with the revamped schedule leading up to the February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, we will now be hosting this exciting event March 17-19, 2022 at Whistler Olympic Park. The event will attract the top international female Ski Jumpers and a strong contingent of Nordic Combined athletes who will come to Whistler after competing in Park City, Utah and will head to Lake Placid, New York the following week.
Our plans are also well underway for hosting the 2022 Canadian National Cross Country Ski Championships, from March 20 to 27. The event has been expanded to include the Finals of the US Super Tour which will turn the competition into a North American wide celebration of Nordic skiing. Accommodation is expected to be tight with over 1,000 athletes plus coaches/fans looking to book in Squamish and Whistler. Black Tusk has partnered with Tourism Whistler & Squamish https://www.whistler.com/events/canadianccskichampionship/ to offer preferred rates and accommodation along with special discounts for venue parking and the Celebration Banquet.
We are very excited to be partnering with Spirit North www.spiritnorthxc.ca , the organization founded by Olympic champion Beckie Scott to bring opportunities of year round outdoor activities to indigenous youth throughout Canada. Through our partnership, Spirit North is working closely with the local First Nations and Whistler Olympic Park to create programs for youth in the Sea to Sky corridor.
Our fundraising continues to build momentum with the multi-year sponsorship commitments from Kindred Construction and the Beedie Development Group. Kindred is a Vancouver/Whistler based builder of homes and commercial buildings and Beedie is one of Canada’s largest family owned real estate development companies and most generous philanthropists.
We are very pleased that John Aalberg has joined the Organizing Committee as Chief Operating Officer. Originally from Norway, John came to North America as a top cross country ski racer becoming an American citizen and competing for the US in two Olympics. Following his competitive career, John became an organizing and venue expert, designing and operating the 2002 Salt Lake Nordic venue as well as the 2010 Whistler Olympic Park. John continues to consult on most Winter Olympic venues and is very involved in the preparations for the 2022 Beijing Games. He now lives permanently in British Columbia and we are fortunate to have his expertise and leadership on our Committee.
I know our Canadian Junior and U23 athletes are training hard this summer with many cross country athletes at the Haig Glacier altitude camp near Canmore and our jumpers in Salt Lake and Europe. We look forward to having Whistler Olympic Park ready this winter with the Olympic Cross Country courses and the ski jumps fully operational.
We thank all our supporters, funders and volunteers as our preparations continue for an exciting 2021/2022 season.
Please browse through our website for more detail on our progress.
Chairperson – Local Organizing
Committee Black Tusk Nordic Events Society