Lakecity residents take to Winter Games

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast will have no shortage of representation for the next two weeks at the Canada Winter Games.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast will have no shortage of representation for the next two weeks when the Canada Winter Games takes centre stage in Prince George.

Local volunteers, Games organizers, the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, along with representatives from 100 Mile House, Quesnel, Wells, the Northern Shuswap Tribal Council and Williams Lake are set to showcase what the region has to offer.

A Cariboo pavilion, originally built for the 2010 Olympic Games by Pioneer Log Homes, will be on display to highlight tourism and economic development opportunities in the region.

Geoff Paynton, Williams Lake’s director of community services, up until now had been a member of the Canada Winter Games Host Society. Now, he said his role will transition into the Games operation committee to help make sure everything runs smoothly.

“Basically things like transportation, fields of play, food services, medical services, everything,” Paynton said. “We’ll be dealing with any new issues or problems and making sure they get vetted out, so troubleshooting and making sure things go as smoothly as possible.

“It’s pretty amazing how much goes into one of these things.”

From Williams Lake, the city’s events and marketing co-ordinator, Ken MacInnis, plus Stampede royalty, will be on hand at the pavilion from Feb. 17-19.

The CRD will be there prior from Feb. 14-16.

100 Mile House (Feb. 20-22), Quesnel (Feb. 23-25) and Wells (Feb. 26-28) will follow.

Demonstrations to be featured as part of the pavilion, which opens Saturday, Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Four Seasons Leisure Pool, include an autograph session with the Timber Kings, roping demonstrations, sampling of locally made beef pepperoni, wood working demonstrations, hoop dancers and a visit from some special guests from Barkerville.

Two members from Mt. Timothy Ski Area’s Ski Patrol team will also be volunteering at the Games — Angela Sommer and Amy Butler.

Sommer will be stationed at Tabor Mountain Ski Resort and will be ski patrolling for the freestyle skiing event including moguls, ski cross and aerials.

Butler, meanwhile, will be at the Purden Ski Village to do first aid for the super G, slalom and giant slalom events.

“I’m just really excited,” Sommer said. “I’m looking forward to meeting with people from around Canada and seeing the young athletes perform and grow. It’s amazing to see what these young people can do, and I’m looking forward to working with patrollers from around Canada, learning a lot and taking in some of the events and all the other things going on.”

Butler said she’s looking forward to the opportunity to meet new people who work at different ski hills.

“The atmosphere’s going to be really, really neat just for everyone competing and the excellent talent there,” Butler said.

“It’ll be good to meet people who work at different hills just to see how everybody works out.”

Athletes arrived for the Games — which run from Feb. 13 to March 1 — on Thursday. Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be there, Paynton said.

One thing Paynton wants people to do is to come witness what he said will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“If people have an opportunity to get up here and take part they should do it,” he said. “I’ve been to a few and they are massive and tons of fun, and everybody should experience one. It’s a lot bigger than what people expect.”

Williams Lake Tribune