Special Olympics BC – Vernon athlete Justin Chippendale and SOBC snowshoers from around the province racing at Sovereign Lake Nordic Club during an SOBC Performance Program training camp and demonstration races in January. (Special Olympics BC photo)

Vernon’s snow and city venues set for Special Olympics athletes to shine

The Special Olympics BC are in Vernon Feb. 21-23

When Greater Vernon was selected to host the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games, the outstanding local venues were a leading part of the appeal, along with the generous support from volunteers and sponsors that is characteristic of the community.

In SilverStar Mountain Resort, Sovereign Lake Nordic Club, the City of Vernon’s recreational facilities and Lincoln Lanes, Greater Vernon offers top-quality venues for the exciting SOBC Games competitions and Opening Ceremony, set to be held Feb. 21 to 23.

The competitions in eight sports will feature nearly 600 athletes with intellectual disabilities, more than 200 volunteer coaches and mission staff, and will attract a significant number of families and fans from all over the province and the Yukon to enjoy Greater Vernon’s fine facilities.

At SilverStar, 29 SOBC alpine skiers from all over the province will snap in to race down the stellar slopes, including hometown heroes Colby Bell and Crystal Rohrer of SOBC – Vernon. The run “Over the Hill” will be the perfect stage on which the SOBC racers can show their skills and go for gold.

“We are honoured to be involved in and hosting the alpine skiing event for the 2019 Special Olympics BC Winter Games,” said Ken Derpak, managing director of SilverStar Mountain Resort. “As a well-known and loved local ski resort we continually like to be involved in our community in any way we can. Being a part of the 2019 SOBC Winter Games was an easy decision for us. We look forward to hosting these exceptional athletes and their families.”

Sovereign Lake Nordic Club will host the 2019 SOBC Games cross country skiing and snowshoeing competitions, welcoming 30 skinny skiers including SOBC – Vernon’s Matthew Bisschop, Dominique Borgeaud and Justin Sigal, as well as 37 snowshoers including SOBC – Vernon’s Mary Adamson and Justin Chippendale.

“Sovereign Lake Nordic Club is proud to play a small role in this community-wide event. Supporting our local and regional athletes, and placing them in the limelight for a weekend at our venue is a special honour,” said Troy Hudson, Sovereign Lake Nordic Club general manager. “We are always looking at ways to bring new people to our venue and increase opportunities for inclusive sport for all.”

The buzz will be beautiful at the recreational venues offered by the City of Vernon, 2019 SOBC Games Platinum Sponsor, with the support of the District of Coldstream and the Regional District of North Okanagan, 2019 SOBC Games Bronze Sponsors.

Kal Tire Place will host the emotional and inspiring Opening Ceremony on Feb. 21, and Kal Tire Place North will see 22 Special Olympics speedskaters light up the ice on Feb. 22 and 23. The Greater Vernon Recreation Complex will be alive with excitement as 24 teams will hurry hard in the Vernon Curling Club, 24 figure skaters will glide into competition at Priest Valley Arena, and 14-floor hockey teams will play thrilling games in the Priest Valley Gym. SOBC – Vernon floor hockey player Steven Schwebbach will be in action there with the SOBC – Kelowna team to go for Provincial Games gold.

Related: Editorial – Volunteers needed

In addition, the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre will serve as a hub for 2019 SOBC Games operational and family info and will offer Special Olympics Healthy Athletes screenings.

“The hosting of the Games provides the citizens of our community with another opportunity to step up and volunteer for a worthwhile cause,” said Doug Ross, director of Recreation Services. “Volunteering is a very important aspect of life in Vernon and gives people an opportunity to show their support for their community and for personal fulfillment.

Lincoln Lanes will host the exciting 5-pin bowling events, with 27 Special Olympics teams toppling pins and playing three games each per day.


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