October 12, 2012 (Whistler, B.C.) – Whistler has been added to the Ironman roster, winning the bid to host a Canadian event for five years, beginning in 2013. The World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) announced October 11 that Whistler is the successful bid in the competition to host Ironman Canada, beating out Kelowna, B.C. and Huntsville, Ontario.
“We are thrilled with the announcement by the World Triathlon Corporation,” said Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “Hosting this event will build on our resort community’s reputation as a world class destination for hosting world class events, and present significant economic opportunities for the resort community.”
The bid submission was made last month by the Whistler Organizing Committee, comprised of Tourism Whistler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW). In early October, the WTC, owner and organizer of Ironman and Ironman 70.3 branded-events, announced that Whistler had made the shortlist, along with Kelowna, B.C. and Huntsville, Ontario. The winning bid was confirmed yesterday.
“We are delighted by the World Triathlon Corporation’s decision to award the Ironman Canada event to Whistler,” said Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler President & CEO. “Whistler has an international reputation for producing high-calibre, world-class events. The resort’s natural assets and our experience hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will allow us to support an exceptional Ironman event.”
The memorandum of understanding sees Whistler hosting the Ironman Canada event for five years, beginning in 2013. The inaugural Whistler event would take place August 21-26 (event day August 25) in 2013, followed by July 23-28 (event day July 27) in 2014, July 22-27 (event day July 26) in 2015, July 20-25 (event day July 24) in 2016 and July 26-31 (event day July 30) in 2017.
“Whistler is recognized worldwide as a sought-after travel and outdoor recreation destination. As the new host community of Ironman Canada, Whistler will immediately earn a reputation as a triathlon destination,” said Steve Meckfessel, Managing Director of Global Race Operations for WTC, in their media release issued yesterday. “With its accessibility to major west coast markets, stunning beauty and tourism infrastructure, Whistler will resonate with our athletes, their families and fans of Ironman.”
The successful bid was the result of a collaborative effort between Tourism Whistler and the RMOW, as the Whistler Organizing Committee, along with resort partners and neighbouring communities.
“Sport tourism is becoming an increasingly important industry for the resort and by attracting such renowned events as Ironman, we are cementing Whistler’s reputation as the ultimate sport event destination,” added Fisher.
“Hosting the Ironman Canada will showcase our community’s assets and present new opportunities for our community,” said Wilhelm-Morden. “We are committed to working closely with the World Triathlon Corporation both to maximize participants’ experience in the event, and to minimize the impact on the day-to-day operation of the resort. We hope that our community will fully embrace this event to add to its success.”
The Whistler Organizing Committee, in its submission to the WTC, outlined six significant advantages of a Whistler location including:
• unrivalled natural beauty and iconic landmarks with a unique Western Canadian route
• brand alignment, with two world-class brands (Whistler and Ironman) working together to provide an unprecedented opportunity to leverage the local, regional, national and international profiles of both
• partnership experience in delivering major sporting events
• appeal for new and returning Ironman competitors, as the number one year-round mountain resort in North America
• an enhanced athlete experience in a community renowned for its safe, friendly and welcoming atmosphere
• proximity to an international airport in a major urban setting
As the host city for Ironman Canada, Whistler stands to benefit significantly in terms of economic impact. In order to secure the event, the initial race will be held in August, moving to July, a period of greater need, from 2014-2017.
The Whistler Organizing Committee works in collaboration with resort partners including Whistler Sport Legacies, Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler Arts Council, the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre and the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, as well as the neighbouring stakeholders of the Village of Pemberton and the Squamish Lillooet Regional District.
Over the coming weeks and months, there will be a series of site visits from the WTC and planning meetings with the local organizing committee.
An Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 kilometre) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 kilometre) bicycle ride and a full marathon (26.2 miles or 42.3 kilometres). WTC currently owns, operates or produces more than 90 Ironman and Ironman 70.3 events worldwide each year. Each year, more than 90,000 athletes compete in Ironman events worldwide for positions in the Ironman and 70.3 championships. Most Ironman events sell out in minutes. Ironman Canada, formerly hosted in Penticton, B.C., has been part of the Ironman global calendar for the past 30 years. Event organizers anticipate that the Ironman Canada Whistler event will draw more than 2,000 endurance athletes plus thousands of spectators for multiple days each year.