Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic training site designation inches closer

Announcement expected Aug. 16

Express Staff Writer

A year-long process to designate Sun Valley as an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Nordic training site could be done in the next two weeks, making it the first such site in the United States.

Joy Kasputys, outreach and development director for the Sustain Blaine economic development group, said Tuesday that contracts between a committee led by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and the United States Olympic Committee should be complete by Aug. 16.

"Some of it is just kind of hung up because of the little thing going on in London," Kasputys said with a laugh. "It's just a matter of getting people together, and the USOC was busy with the Olympics."

The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation submitted its application for certification as an Olympic training site in June 2011, in partnership with Sustain Blaine, the Wood River Ability Project and the Blaine County Recreation District.

Representatives from those organizations, including foundation Executive Director Don Wiseman, Recreation District Executive Director Jim Keating, Sustain Blaine Executive Director Harry Griffith and Wood River Ability Project Executive Director Marc Mast, formed a committee that will implement and oversee all contracts and future operations.

Kasputys said the contracts were not delayed because of any real obstacles.

"There wasn't anything that was a sticking point," she said. "They were really pleased with the facilities we have."

The official designation should be announced during the 6 at Sochi Celebration in Ketchum Town Square on Aug. 16.

The event, which will feature music, barbecue and even a vodka booth, is meant to raise community support and awareness of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation's efforts to send six athletes to the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

If Sun Valley is designated, it will become the nation's first official Nordic Olympic training site.

Sustain Blaine Executive Director Harry Griffith said earlier this year that while the designation will result in a few direct jobs, mostly for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation, the main effect would be to drive tourism. He said increased demand for services from visiting skiers would lead to more jobs for the north valley.

Kate Wutz:

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