Calgary’s winter sport bubble could be about to grow.
CBC Sports has learned plans are in the final stages to host a number of international ski and snowboard events at Canada Olympic Park.
The 2021 freestyle ski, snowboard and freeski world championships, as well as a number of World Cup events, are provisionally being rescheduled to be held starting Feb. 19 and running until the middle of March.
At this point, details around restrictions and protocol are still being worked through as all levels of government continue to work with sport governing bodies to come up with the safest plan.
Working on necessary approvals
Canada’s snowboard and freestyle organizations are working with the appropriate Canadian authorities to obtain the necessary approvals.
“We continue to work in close collaboration with key partners around the potential of creating a winter sport bubble in Calgary to host multiple international FIS Freestyle, Freeski, Snowboard events this winter,” the federations wrote in an email to CBC Sports.
The statement went on to say that “significant planning has been done with the health and safety of athletes and team members, host venue staff and the public as the priority. While contracts have yet to be confirmed, we believe Calgary would be an excellent and safe winter event bubble host city.”
Provincial and federal government, funding partners and public health authorities must still sign off on the plan.
There would be a number of events taking place over a month of competition including slopestyle, big air, halfpipe and freestyle ski moguls, dual moguls, aerials, and aerials team events.
With freestyle and snowboard events being cancelled across the world, the Calgary World Cup races could wind up playing a major factor in qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
CBC Sports has previously reported that the organizations are using the NHL cohort quarantine model as their pitch. Athletes and coaches would travel only between the host hotels and ski hills, with events happening in times and spaces completely separate from the public.
COVID-19 testing would occur before arrival, upon arrival and throughout participants’ time in the bubble.
An update on the planning and status of the event will be provided on Jan. 18
This comes in the wake of a curling bubble being announced on the same grounds in Calgary, beginning with the Scotties starting on Feb. 20, just five days after the beginning of this ski and snowboarding extravaganza.
The Markin McPhail Centre at Canada Olympic Park will play host to six bonspiels over the course of two and a half months including the Scotties, Brier, mixed doubles nationals, men’s world championship and two Grand Slams.
Curling Canada along with health officials at all levels of government have imposed a strict bubble for the event including not leaving the confines of the hotel or arena at any point and not allowing any family members inside the bubble.