Greater Vernon B.C. Winter Games warehouse administration volunteer Ed Ewanchuk (left) helps Leith Skinner

Greater Vernon B.C. Winter Games warehouse administration volunteer Ed Ewanchuk (left) helps Leith Skinner

Final touches ready for Greater Vernon B.C. Winter Games

Greater Vernon ready to welcome coaches, athletes, officials and visitors to the B.C. Winter Games, which begin Thursday...

B.C. Winter Games directors, event chairs and volunteers are making lists and checking them twice.

It’s one of the last things left to do as the event, which will feature more than 1,600 coaches and athletes, gets underway Thursday in Greater Vernon, Coldstream, Armstrong, Silver Star and Lumby.

“I think what everybody is doing is going over their checklists and make sure what is supposed to have been done by now has been done,” said Akbal Mund, president of the Greater Vernon B.C. Winter Games organizing committee Tuesday morning. “I don’t think there’s a lot left to do. Everything seems all ready to go. We’re just geared up and waiting for the Games to begin.”

The two venues that will host outdoor events – Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre and Silver Star Mountain Resort – have plenty of snow.

“There are no issues with holding any of the races at those two locations,” said Mund. “Everybody at Sovereign and Silver Star does a wonderful job of looking after the two venues to make sure they’re ready for the kids.”

More than 2,000 people signed up as volunteers to help with the Games, and they were honoured with an appreciation dinner Tuesday night at the Wesbild Centre, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies, along with female hockey.

A rehearsal for the torch run and opening ceremonies will take place today.

The opening ceremonies commence with a pre-event show at 6:15 p.m., followed by the start of the ceremony at 7 p.m.

Global TV news anchor – and Vernon native – Randene Neill will be the emcee.

The torch is expected to be brought into the Wesbild Centre at around 8:25 p.m. Thursday, with the person who will light the Games cauldron still a mystery.

The torch run will start at 8 p.m. on 31st Street in front of city hall, and go to 30th Avenue. The torch will turn right, go to 33rd Street and right down to 39th Avenue. From there, the torch will go left on 39th, then right on Alexis Park Drive to 43rd Avenue, then over to the Wesbild Centre.

Premier Christy Clark is expected to be at the Games’ opening ceremonies.

Games competition actually begins Thursday with one female hockey game in Lumby at the Pat Duke Memorial Arena at 2 p.m. Team Kootenay will take on Team Fraser Valley. The rest of the games start Friday at the Wesbild Centre.

Volunteers at the Games office in downtown Vernon have been fielding a number of enquiries about tickets for the events.

Their answer is a simple one.

“There are no tickets,” said Brenda Thorlakson, Games office manager. “The opening and closing ceremonies, and all sports events, are gratis. The public is welcome.”

The office on Tuesday, said Thorlakson, was “a humming place,” with the switchboard volunteers fielding Games’ questions, and directors and volunteers picking up their supplies.

The closing ceremonies are slated from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wesbild Centre.

The Morning Star has coverage of the Games on our website, www.vernonmorningstar.com, and we’d like to see your pictures of the Games, using Flickr.

Visit www.vernonmorningstar.com and go to the B.C. Games link in the navigation bar at the top. Click on Photo Gallery in the navigation bar, and once you are in, click on the Vernon B.C. Winter Games group pool on Flickr.

Select ‘Join This Group.’ You have to use Google or Facebook to log in, or set up a Flickr account. It will take about 24-48 hours after you set up a new account for your photos to appear in the public group.