Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender announced that a wide range of sporting events, including the Special Olympic BC-Trail’s (SOBC-Trail) Snow Sport Winter Festival, will benefit from over $175,000 in provincial grants.
SOBC-Trail will receive just over $2,400 of the funds as they get set to host the SOBC Winter Festival from Feb. 5-7. The annual event features Special Olympic athletes from across B.C. competing in downhill skiing and snowshoeing events, which will make its first visit to Red Mountain and Black Jack Cross Country Ski Club this year.
“It’s Winter Fest and we’re bringing in the top Special Olympic alpine skiers and snowshoers in the province,” said SOBC-Trail organizer and coach Ben Postmus. “We went over there two years ago to Crystal Mountain to scope it out to see if we could host it, and it was a no brainer. I mean Red Mountain is famous for its races.”
SOBC-Trail has recruited the assistance of the Red Mountain Racers and Black Jack skiers to help in the organization and timing of the races that will see close to 140 athletes, coaches, and support staff visit Rossland for the three-day event.
“It’s a good warm up for all the athletes that are going to the Special Olympic Canada Winter Games in Newfoundland in March,” added Postmus.
This round of funding from Hosting BC will be shared by 45 groups in 24 communities throughout the province. In addition to Winter Fest, events include the Panorama Coupe NorAm Cup Series – an alpine skiing event in Invermere, the Western National Championships for water polo in Surrey, and the Provincial Championships for wheelchair basketball in Kamloops.
The grants range from $1,000 to $10,000 and are administered by viaSport, the Government of British Columbia’s lead agency for the development and promotion of sport and physical activity in the province.
“The Hosting BC grant program encourages communities to host tournaments and championships that provide a positive boost to the economy and help train volunteers for future events,” said Fassbender. “These organizations also do a great job of showcasing our B.C. athletes at home and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle for all residents.”
Since 2004, Hosting BC has invested more than $5 million in community-based sporting events, building B.C.’s reputation as a major sport-hosting destination. Event hosting stimulates economic activity and generates revenues that help support local businesses and jobs in B.C.’s local communities.
“ViaSport is proud to see a range of sporting events, from local tournaments to international championships, continue to select British Columbia as their preferred sport hosting destination,” said Sheila Bouman, CEO of viaSport in a release. “The Hosting BC grant program helps provincial community and sport organizations uphold B.C.’s reputation as a world-class destination for exceptional sporting events.”
The Government of British Columbia has provided more than $1 billion to support sport in B.C. since 2001, including over $50 million in 2014-15.