Ski jumps kept open at Canada Olympic Park thanks to cash injection

CALGARY – The ski jump complex at Calgary’s Canada Olympic Park will remain open with financial help from the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

The foundation, which is a fundraising arm of the Canadian Olympic Committee, is contributing $225,000 over the next three years to defray the cost of operating the ski jumps built for the 1988 Winter Games in the city.

The largest ski jump tower that is a fixture on the city’s western skyline has been obsolete for more than a decade.

But WinSport, which oversees the park and other 1988 legacies, invests $400,000 annually in the other jumps and developmental ramps, where the national ski jump and nordic combined athletes train.

“Ski jumping facilities are expensive to operate and maintain. The ramps and landing hills require snow making, maintenance and significant manpower to operate in a safe and effective manner,” WinSport president Barry Heck said Friday in a statement.

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“WinSport is in the business of providing quality training facilities to athletes of all ages and levels, and we can now continue to do that for ski jumping and nordic combined.”

Calgary’s Taylor Henrich won a pair of World Cup bronze medals and was fifth in women’s ski jumping at the world championships last season.

“As the jump complex at WinSport is the only year-round training facility in Canada, it was imperative to the sports of both ski jumping and nordic combined that they remain open and viable,” Ski Jumping Canada’s chairman Tom Reid said.

“With a guaranteed home training ground for the next three years, it’s up to Ski Jumping Canada and our athletes to prove that we can compete with the best in the world. I certainly expect to see our women’s team be in the medal hunt in 2018.”

Canada has two ski jump complexes. A second was constructed in Whistler, B.C., for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The Canadian Olympic Foundation, established in 2007, has raised and distributed $38 million to high-performance sport organizations.

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