“Everybody knows him in the sport. He’s right up there with the very best of them—he’s still active and a competitor as well as being a father to three athletes, including local favourite Alex Harvey,” says Martial De Rome, president of Québec Winter Sports Events Corporation as he lists Pierre Harvey’s many qualities. An ambassador for the sport at home in Québec and abroad, Pierre Harvey says he is honoured to have been approached to act as honorary president for Sprint Québec 2012.
“At last! A Ski World Cup right on our doorstep in Québec and right in the heart of the city, to boot! Skiers of all ages will be more motivated than ever at seeing the world’s top cross-country skiers in action. And this is also the type of event that encourages the public to opt for healthy, active lifestyles,” he says, adding that it’s also the perfect opportunity for Quebecers to show the rest of the world just how warm a welcome can be! “Québec City is fast becoming a city synonymous with sports and this event will keep us right on track,” adds Québec City mayor Régis Labeaume. “Sprint Québec is another chance for us to show off our know-how—and our beautiful city.”
Putting on a show!
Designed with television very much in mind, Sprint Québec will wow crowds gathered in front of the National Assembly by the thousand, eager to see 150 athletes from close to 20 countries in action. “The pictures will really be something special with the National Assembly in the background,” explains Patrice Drouin, president of Gestev, the event management company tasked with putting on the event. And for Martial De Rome, putting on an event like this will highlight the capital’s Nordic lifestyle and show just how wide it can open its arms—a welcome boost to a potential Olympic bid.
But putting on a show of this magnitude is nevertheless a feat for an organizing committee that requires 10,000m3 of snow to cover the course. And that’s why it’s so pleasing to see major partners from across the province get behind the event to help set up a course that’s 850 m long and between 6 m and 13 m wide. “We’re planning to start snow production over the next few days, using state-of-the-art snow cannons from Neige“, a Québec specialist. Prinoth will supply the snow groomers to spread the snow and help us build the course with the rest of our team,” explains Patrice Drouin.
Fun, fun, fun!
Also at the press conference to mark the launch of Sprint Québec, Alex Harvey believes that bringing the mountain to the city will see lots of people turn out on Parliament Hill for the occasion. “It’s going to be a fun event, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to compete in front of my home crowd.” If the cross-country star is to be believed, city races are an unbelievable source of energy for athletes since the crowd is so close, and at the Team Sprint event on Friday, December 7 at 2 p.m., Alex Harvey will be racing with Devon Kershaw, who will also be competing in the Individual Sprint on Saturday, December 8, at 1:15 p.m. Kershaw admits he can’t wait to see the reception reserved for Alex, now the face of cross-country skiing in Québec City! “Hosting World Cup races at home gives our athletes the chance to shine on home snow, but it also creates an opportunity for families to see sport at its highest caliber in one of the country’s most spectacular cities. We are very lucky to have the opportunity to showcase our sport in Quebec City and the following week in Canmore “, said Matthew Jeffries, director of business development, Cross Country Canada.
A don’t-miss weekend!
At 10 a.m. on Friday, December 7, the Sprint Québec Village at Place George V will open its doors to the public. Young and old will be able to meet industry specialists and winter sports fans and take part in a host of activities at the hydraSense Family Zone. Children age 9 to 12 can take part in free Iniski to learn skating technique with Rossignol professionals. And local microbrewery Archibald will be there for adults in search of a refreshing beer. Then the weekend will end on a high note on Sunday, December 9 with the amateur event Sprint Québec Open fuelled by Chocolate Milk, the final event of the weekend with cross-country skiers of all stripes invited to tackle the World Cup course in a race against the clock. Divided into categories according to age and ability, the participants will get a chance to see how they do compared to their favourite athlete from the Canadian national team in the race of their lives!
Sprint Quebec Animated course HERE.