Local snow groomer heads to Winter Olympics

BARRY’S BAY - Dirk Van Wijk will be heading to PyeongChang in a couple of weeks in preparation for the start of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Van Wijk will be grooming the trails for the cross-country ski races that start in February.

PyeongChang is the region of South Korea where the Olympic ski events will take place. PyeongChang is easily confused with the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang. PyeongChang is close to the North Korean border.

Van Wijk said, “We’re quite close to North Korea, so there are definitely some concerns there. We’ve been told there’s nothing to worry about.”

PyeongChang was developed as a ski area by the South Korean government as part of its bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics, which was awarded to Vancouver. Venues for different ski sports including cross-country were built in the PyeongChang region, including a ski village. The development has fostered tourism and encouraged locals to ski.

Van Wijk said the area is not known for snow or snow sports.

“They don’t typically get a lot of natural snow, but they have a huge infrastructure for making snow there [...] The aim was to make a metre of snow. I think they have 8-10 kilometres of race course, ten metres wide. That’s a massive amount of snow.”

For more pick up a copy of the January 10, paper.