Alpine skiing will be among the 17 sports taking place during the 2023 BC Winter Games, which have been awarded to Greater Vernon after the 2022 event was cancelled due to COVID and other reasons. (File photo)

Alpine skiing will be among the 17 sports taking place during the 2023 BC Winter Games, which have been awarded to Greater Vernon after the 2022 event was cancelled due to COVID and other reasons. (File photo)

Greater Vernon to host BC Winter Games in 2023

Event for Greater Vernon was to have been held in February 2022 but was postponed by pandemic and other factors

The BC Winter Games will be held in Greater Vernon a year later than planned.

The BC Games Society and the Greater Vernon 2022 BC Winter Games Society announced Monday, Feb. 28, that the Games will be held March 23-26, 2023.

The Games are expected to attract up to 1,800 participants in 17 sports.

“Although we will now stage the Games a year later than planned, we know we will be able to provide a memorable event for all participants,” said Val Trevis, president Greater Vernon 2022 BC Winter Games Society. “We will continue to refine our plans over the next 12 months to make sure our venues and services are ready to give the best sport development opportunity for our province‘s young athletes, coaches, and officials.”

In January, organizers decided not to proceed with the 2022 BC Winter Games because of a number of factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and recent flooding and wildfires in many parts of the province.

“Of course, we were disappointed when the 2022 BC Winter Games could not proceed,” said Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming. “But we are pleased organizers and stakeholders have found a way to reschedule the Games in 2023. Vernon will be prepared to deliver an exceptional sport experience.”

Staging the BC Winter Games in Greater Vernon during the spring break in March, 2023, instead of the traditional Games dates in February, will help minimize disruption to the local school district as the Games depend on strong partnerships between the sport and education sectors for sport venues and accommodation as well as the local school bus fleet for transportation.

“I know it was a profound disappointment for the athletes, coaches and for people in Greater Vernon‘s sport and tourism community to not have the BC Winter Games this year,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “Moving up the BC Winter Games to next spring is another great sign that B.C. is on track for a strong recovery. For many young people the chance to participate in these Games is life-changing.”

Hosting the BC Winter Games during the spring break also avoids an overlap with the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island set for Feb. 18 to March 5, 2023.

Over the next year, provincial sport organizations in B.C. will review qualification requirements to determine if athletes who qualified for the 2022 BC Winter Games will be able to compete in 2023.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the BC Games cycle since 2020. As sport organizations continue to plan for a safe return to sport, future editions of the BC Games are currently scheduled as follows:

2022 BC Summer Games Prince George July 21-24, 2022

2022 BC Winter Games Greater Vernon March 23-26, 2023

2024 BC Winter Games Quesnel Feb. 22-25, 2024

2024 BC Summer Games Maple Ridge July 18-21, 2024

2026 BC Winter Games Trail-Rossland Feb. 19-22, 2026

2026 BC Summer Games Kelowna July 23-26, 2026

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