MADISON, Wis. â€” On January 14 and 15, many of the premier cross-country skiers in North America will race around the Wisconsin Capitol in downtown Madison as part of the 2006 Capitol Square Sprints. This is the second year the event will take place in Madison, and it remains America’s biggest International Ski Federation (FIS) city sprint race.
In addition to the FIS SuperTour events, the Capitol Square Sprints will serve as a qualifier for the Midwest Junior Olympic team and as the Wisconsin High School Relay Championships. Other events will include a winter/outdoor sports expo, ice sculptures, a cross-country ski conference, a community open ski with equipment rentals, Special Olympics Wisconsin, the Fit City Kids Expo, a rail jam competition for snowboarders, and award ceremonies.
More than 100,000 cubic feet of snow will be trucked into the area around the capitol to create the 1-kilometer loop course with machine-set tracks. Hammersley Stone dump trucks will deliver the snow from the grounds of the Alliant Energy Center and Tyrol Basic Ski Area.
â€œNot only does the Capitol Square Sprints bring world-class skiing to Madison, it also gives us the opportunity to promote the beautiful sport of cross-country skiing while encouraging healthy, active winter recreation,â€ said Yuriy Gusev, the event organizer and executive director of the Central Cross Country Ski Association.
This year’s event builds on the success of the 2005 Capitol Square Sprints, which also served as an Olympic qualifying event. â€œThe effort that Yuriy and his team undertook to organize the 2005 Capitol Square Sprints SuperTour was both outstanding and inspiring,â€ said Luke Bodensteiner, Nordic director for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. â€œI’m sure it was incredibly satisfying for organizers to see their vision become a reality, and I know it was equally satisfying for the competitors, who had the opportunity to perform in a venue like none they’d ever performed before.â€
â€œWe’re extremely excited to welcome this extraordinary event back to Madison,â€ said Deb Archer, president and CEO of the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau. â€œOur city relishes athletic competition and it is such an honor for us to have this Olympic-caliber competition held on our very own city streets!â€