Canyon Ski Resort General Manager David Martel talks about the upgrades to the resort for the 2019 Canada Winter Games on Thursday afternoon. Robin Grant/ Red Deer Express

Canada Winter Games upgrades completed at Canyon Ski Resort

Officials say improving the resort makes it a destination for future winter sports competitions

Red Deer’s Canyon Ski Resort is making a name for itself in Western Canada ahead of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

The completed upgrades to the resort make hosting competitive alpine and freestyle skiing and snowboarding possible during the Winter Games, but these improvements also create opportunities to host competitive winter sports in the future.

That was the main message at a 2019 Canada Winter Games announcement about the upgrades held at the ski resort Thursday afternoon.

Canyon Ski Resort General Manager David Martel said it has been wonderful to see all the hard work from the past years pay off.

“Updates to the resort in terms of earthwork has allowed us to have Western Canada’s best mogul site, which will not only allow for national level competitions, but we can now provide a national training facility for athletes here in the future,” he said.

In preparing for the upcoming Winter Games, the resort has improved its terrain, widened ski runs, upgraded its snowmaking equipment and completed building updates to meet accessibility requirements, such as the construction of an elevator in its Canyon Ski Chalet.

Approximately $1.6 million was spent upgrading the province’s largest non-mountain ski area just eight minutes east of Red Deer.

Last week, the resort opened early because of its improved snowmaking equipment, making it the first in Western Canada to open for the season.

“Canyon’s upgrade to its snowmaking facility allowed us to not only have a jump start on the season, but will allow us to be as prepared as possible for whatever Mother Nature throws at us this winter,” Martel added.

Councillor Ken Johnston said hosting the Canada Winter Games has allowed Red Deer to improve its cultural and sporting facilities as well as enhance the City’s profile on the national stage so it can host future events.

Winter Games Chair for 2019 Lyn Radford said up-and-coming athletes can now train in Red Deer instead of traveling to other locations in Alberta. She said Calgary did not see the opportunity in hosting a multi-sport event like the 2026 Winter Olympics when it voted no at the beginning of the week.

“We were very fortunate in this community for the City of Red Deer to understand the value of hosting a multi-sport Games,” she said. “They stepped up to the table in 2014, making all of this possible. So hats off to the City of Red Deer.”

The 2019 Canada Winter Games is three months away, running from Feb. 15th to March 3rd.

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