Catch World Cup Fever In Canmore This Winter
- Karen Fennell - November 20, 2015
Not since the 1988 Winter Olympics has Canmore, AB, seen such a frenzy of international attention. Three of the largest winter sporting events will happen between Feb. 1 and March 13, 2016: the World Cup Biathlon, the final World Cup Cross-Country competition and the not so big but always popular “kid ‘n’ mutt” races at the Canmore Winter Carnival—The World Cup Edition.
Only 50 minutes from Calgary, the rolling shoulder of Rundle Mountain has more than 65 km (40 mi) of trails and a biathlon shooting range, both surrounded by grandstands for fans to cheer on the athletes. Since being the venue for the cross-country and biathlon events at the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Canmore Nordic Centre has hosted hundreds of races. However, this is the first time two of the biggest race series have been held in the same season. What’s bigger than hockey? A World Cup biathlon!
The BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon Feb. 1-7 will see the world’s best biathletes take aim at the podium. Each race is a battle of skill on skis and shooting, but the Sunday events will bring another exciting style of racing: relay races.
Fans will cheer as athletes, working in teams of either two or four racers, split evenly between males and females, race head-to-head through varying lengths of laps and shooting positions. It will be fast and fun to watch from either the grandstand or along the course.
Canmore is also more than ready to host the first FIS World Cup Cross-Country season finale in North America March 8-12. Staff began laying out snow, stockpiled under piles of hay from last winter, in October to prep the trails. Since then, the grooming has not stopped and the course will be spectacular for the races.
Athletes from 25 countries will join the Canadian team in races from 10 km to 30 km long. Two midweek races will feature the best sprint athletes in the world, followed by the best of the best in the pursuit class on Saturday. Thousands of spectators are expected to be in the stands and watching along the course with millions more glued to their television.
There’s more! Every year Canmore hosts the Winter Carnival, but this year the World Cup Edition will entertain international guests visiting for the World Cup events at the Nordic Centre and in the centre of town. The festival opens Feb. 1 with a lantern parade. Medal presentations will happen downtown on race days, but expect to find musical performances, ice-carving competitions, food extravaganzas, a maple-sugar cabin and those crazy races with the kids and their dogs throughout the festival. The coveted Crystal Globes will be presented March 12 during the closing ceremonies to the world’s best cross-country skiers of 2016.
Spectators can bring or rent Nordic skis to enjoy the trails between races. Canmore is home to 70 different restaurants and offers an excellent selection of hotels to suit every budget. Tack an extra day onto your stay to enjoy a day sledding with the dogs or discovering the Canmore Caves. Knowing Canmore, this promises to be an Olympian-size party.
Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
Author: Joanne Elves
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