It is almost a year and a half into its planning, and now the 2012 Masters National Championships are less than five weeks away.
The week-long cross country skiing event hosted by the Golden Nordic Ski Club will take place from March 11 to 17 at Dawn Mountain.
“Canadian Masters Championships is a series of races done over a week, four races, and it’s for ages 30 and up,” said Troy Hudson, competition chief for the event.
“So it’s for athletes who aren’t on the national racing circuit. Lots of them are retired athletes or super enthusiasts who love to ski.”
Registration for the races is still open, but the club is expecting anywhere from 200 to 400 athletes. They are already getting participants signing up from all across the country, and a few from the United States.
Clubs are only allowed to bid on hosting the event once every 30 years, says Hudson, so they feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity.
“It was a pretty big deal for us to be able to get it,” he said.
During the week there will be a long distance skate race, a short distance skate race, a short distance classic race, as well as the club’s annual loppet, which they will be tying into the event.
“Saturday is our biggest day because we’re also tying in our annual Huckleberry Loppet into the week. So on top of the masters skiers, we have around 100 participants from the loppet. So realistically, we’ll see between 300 and 500 people out that day,” said Hudson.
The logistics of putting on an event of this magnitude can be a bit daunting, but Hudson is happy with where the club is in their planning.
“We’ve been planning this event for literally a year and a half already. So we’ve got a lot in place already, so theoretically, it shouldn’t be a very stressful event,” he said.
“We’re very optimistic that everything is going to come together and run smoothly.”
But co-ordinating hundreds of athletes and countless spectators will require a sizable team of volunteers.
“We’re looking at around 60 people per day just for the race committee… So that’s 240 people for the week, just for the races. We’ve got about one third to half of that filled right now, which is really good. We’re in a really good position for volunteers right now, but we definitely need more,” said Hudson.
“There’s a full range of jobs for volunteers from timing to assembling awards, working with the medals, working in the stadium for prep and clean up, set-up take-down of the venue. There’s lots of different positions, but everyone will have just one task, so it’s very straight forward and simple.”
An event of this size rarely comes to Golden, and the Nordic Club is hoping the community will be supportive.
“We’re encouraging as many people to come up who can. There’s lots of room for spectators,” said Hudson.
“This is probably one of the biggest events Golden has ever put on, and we want to make a really positive experience for all the athletes here, and showcase our venue. We have such a fantastic site up there, with so much support from different community groups that it will be nice see that venue in action. It’s a pretty big deal.”
For more information on the Masters National Championships go to 2012canadianmasters.blogspot.com. Anyone wanting to volunteer can click on the pink volunteer button on the right hand side of the page.