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Should Queenstown Bid For 2026 Winter Olympics?


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Is there anywhere on the north island with a big enough drop for the alpine skiing?

A bobsledding track for New Zealand and Australia would be an irritating expense, but there should probably be one in the region. It would not only get used by the Australians and New Zealanders. It would also be useful for the rest of the world to train at in the opposite season. So it would likely get plenty of use and most likely feature an annual, opposite season tournament by the sliding federations.

The arenas, on the other hand, make much less sense. If NZ hosted they would probably need a bunch of temporary venues for the skating sports.

Edited by Nacre
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Is there anywhere on the north island with a big enough drop for the alpine skiing?

A bobsledding track for New Zealand and Australia would be an irritating expense, but there should probably be one in the region. It would not only get used by the Australians and New Zealanders. It would also be useful for the rest of the world to train at in the opposite season. So it would likely get plenty of use and most likely feature an annual, opposite season tournament by the sliding federations.

The arenas, on the other hand, make much less sense. If NZ hosted they would probably need a bunch of temporary venues for the skating sports.

I've always wondered, where do bobsledding athletes practice during the summer? Or do they just practice and train without the use of a track?

There's a good number of options for skiers and snowboarders for year-round training, but I never hear of bobsled, luge and skeleton athletes use a track in between competing seasons.

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Scrap Auckland. Have it with Christchurch, with Wanaka and possibly Queenstown if necessary. You could give the curling venue to Queenstown and have Christchurch have the rest of the ice venues. Wanaka has the Men's Downhill, Queenstown the Women's and Slalom events, Christchurch having the lesser alpine events. Queenstown could also be the site of the ski jumps, biathlon course and sliding track.

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Scrap Auckland. Have it with Christchurch, with Wanaka and possibly Queenstown if necessary.

Not enough hotel rooms. They would have to do a Sochi style construction binge or build facilities to shelter and supply at least a dozen big cruise ships. It's the same problem as Alaska: the mountains are there, but there's not enough of a tourist industry and no reasonable post-games use for the ice venues. The host also needs thousands of local volunteers and workers for the games.

Edited by Nacre
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The North Island has Mt Ruapehu, and while there are no ski resorts with a 900 meter vertical, there are two main resorts. However, the big drawback is the distance from auckland at about 345 km. Nevertheless, from a mere feasability stand point Auckland is probably NZ's best chance to land a winter games (although we all know how difficult that could be).

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I would have though a Christchurch/ Queenstown bid would make the most sense, especially since Christchurch is being rebuilt anyway (post earthquake). It would be an amazing Olympic legacy to rebuild a city with Olympic infrastructure ( the village would be turned into much needed homes, rebuilt city square for ceremonies, etc... a dream anyway. They can also call on the experience of Sydney 2000 and Melbourne 2006 and GC 2018 nearby.

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As per my username, I did the pre-feasibility report, what I'd call a "quick and dirty" report on whether we should look at this further. If I thought it was a ridiculous idea I would have quitely deleted the report and moved on but I think there is a possibility - dependent on IOC requiremetns post the Olympic Agenda 2020 report (8-9 Dec-14).


The idea is probably Auckland-Queenstown because the IOC requires 24,000 2-5star rooms (2022 requirement). Auckland has 12700, Christchurch 5700 rooms and Queenstown 4700. Our tourism industry tends to grow at about 4% pa (we had 1.6mn tourists pa in 2000, 2.9mn in 2014). So we would expect Auckland and Queenstown to have 28,000 rooms by that year but Queenstown-Christchurch 16,000. Note the North Island alpine towns (Ohakune really) do not have much accommodation (nor do Wanaka or Methven). Will the IOC lower this requirement on in the 2020 report? If so then A Queenstown-Christchurch bid may be possible. Or a big hotel build is underwritten by the government in Christchurch perhaps as part of an earthquake recovery package.


But our infrastructure will require an airlink connection from a large city to Queenstown. Will the IOC allow this transport connection in the 2020 report?


We run a FIS World Cup events during the Winter Games NZ in Queenstown for ski and snowboard so we can do those. I was involved in homologating a Super G course (which I was told we couldn't do, but did), so I will also be checking the downhill options (don't assume the current set up of ski resorts, there are other options in Queenstown Lakes).


We don't have a sliding venue, so will need to build that. The current idea is in Queenstown beside the gondola. Thanks @Nacre some good points on off season training.


The ski jump is to be built at a ski resort or on the Queenstown ("Wakatipu" floor). I think that needs to be demountable and sold to the next bidder frankly.


Again @Nacre some good points on the skating sport arenas. We would have them in Auckland, make them multi-purpose and possibly move two of them to Wellington and Christchurch post games.


@Lord David, as @Nacre says, I'd like to see Wanaka involved but I'm not sure how we can build a sufficient transport connection to the town, and it only has about 1000 motel/hotel rooms. More generally, increasing the number of towns means we need to to meet IOC requirements to join them together - four lane highways sort of thing. In Central Otago a tram or gondola could do it I guess. Another question waiting on the 2020 report.


@binary good point on Auckland, they have the accommodation and the support of a large city. All 5 ice areans would be built there with the main Olympic Village and the Opening Closing Ceremony stadium at Mt Eden park - unless Christchurch can convince the NZ government to support them with accommodation, transport, ice rink endowments and more.


@TorchbearerSydney I'm hoping Christchurch will be rebuilt in the next 10 years if not the next 3, but it would be a great support to those poor folk.


Lastly I'm thinking more Vancouver 2010, less than US$1 billion - not Sochi 2014 $6.5 billion (plus $44 billion for power plant/railway network etc).


If the IOC 2020 report gives more flexibility in their requirements then I've recommended we do a full feasibility study, if not we walk away.

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Hi Bruce, great you have raised the discussion - but as I mentioned in the other thread, I just struggle to see how the seasons will be overcome. Moving beyond the entrenched Feb timeframe is a big step - at least with the Summer Games there is precedence outside July-August.

Also I think the whole idea of including Auckland is too much - Stockholm-Are's plan for 2022 was far fetched, let alone an Olympics separated by a body of water. In my opinion, its Christchurch or nothing. You also seem to suggest Wellington also... so if you really only think NZ can do it by hosting across the nation then its not going to happen. The point of the Olympics is to have the world in one place/region - thats what makes them special. As long as there are candidates willing to have it all in the one spot, I cant see an NZ-wide Olympics happening.

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Hi Bruce, great you have raised the discussion - but as I mentioned in the other thread, I just struggle to see how the seasons will be overcome. Moving beyond the entrenched Feb timeframe is a big step - at least with the Summer Games there is precedence outside July-August.

Also I think the whole idea of including Auckland is too much - Stockholm-Are's plan for 2022 was far fetched, let alone an Olympics separated by a body of water. In my opinion, its Christchurch or nothing. You also seem to suggest Wellington also... so if you really only think NZ can do it by hosting across the nation then its not going to happen. The point of the Olympics is to have the world in one place/region - thats what makes them special. As long as there are candidates willing to have it all in the one spot, I cant see an NZ-wide Olympics happening.

Yes I agree it's Christchurch - Queenstown bid or nothing for New Zealand, The Summer Olympics and Paralympics Games are too small for New Zealand the best they can do is an Summer Youth Olympics Games and Commonwealth Games for Auckland and the Winter Olympics and Paralympics Games for Christchurch and Queenstown Dunedin is too small to be the main anchor city to host the Olympics. All the ICE events and ceremonies should be in Christchurch and the snow and sliding events in and around Queenstown. An joint bid with Auckland and Queenstown is really bad like the Stockholm - Are Sweden 2022 bid and they will have to go across an ocean too to get to the other venues.

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@runningrings good points. I think the the season issue might have been resolved with the summer Olympics coming twice to Australia and of course to Brazil - easy to say, hard to do ;), but it's not a show stopper.


Under current IOC requirements Auckland-Queenstown is far fetched and Christchurch-Queenstown also. However the Olympic Agenda 2020 review may give the flexibility we need. There are many examples where the travel required from city to alpine village is more than 2 hours by road/rail, by plane Auckland to Queenstown is 1.5 hours, Sydney to Queenstown is 3 hours - so its the transport connection rather than the separation of the two villages that I think is the real issue - and an important hurdle, I don't want to downplay this.


New Zealand has hosted the Rugby World Cup 2011 across the country and, with Australia, is hosting the Cricket World Cup next year. So we're used to big events, we just spread them out. I agree more than two towns may take us too far away from the Olympic ideal but only two villages is pretty much the same as normal bids (albeit the connection is airlink not groundlink). The Olympic Agenda 2020 report will either give us that flexibility or not. If not, end of bid (for the Christchurch option too).


@Gold Coast Lions we would welcome all those options I'm sure. The issue the Christchurch option needs to address is accommodation and, like Auckland, the transport connection to Queenstown. I'm also aware of the need to have popular support (we don't want an Oslo situation) and Auckland is the biggest city at 1.4 million with Christchurch at 340,000. If Christchurch could come up with a solution to at least the accommodation (we're talking fifty three 150-room hotels on top of average forecast growth) then they're a serious option.


The NZOC would probably undertake a city selection process regardless.



I also considered an Australia-NZ bid but see my point above about spreading out the towns.
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@BruceMcGechan Thank you for writing this preliminary study. I was very excited when I found out. This has been a dream of mine since watching the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

I believe the Winter Olympics should be co-hosted between Christchurch and Queenstown with Christchurch hosting the Ceremonies and ice sports and Queenstown (and Wanaka) hosting the snow and sliding sports. I believe Christchurch will the perfect co-host with all the rebuild happening as a result of the quakes, but also we will have the facilities available in the central city within walking distance of each other, once they are built, and our connection to Antarctica.

With the accommodation issue, my proposal was for Christchurch was for an athletes village to built on the old salesyards site and some media villages built on empty sites in and around the central city as well as using the accommodation available at University of Canterbury and secondary school boarding houses. Also, a couple of cruise ships could be docked at Lyttelton. I would assume that would add a couple of thousand rooms. Lastly, we could use a homestay programme which would add more rooms.

Some of my other proposals were that the ski jump facility and sliding centre would be retained and used as tourist destinations and would be incorporated into an Olympic Training Centre with some of the athletes village being used as accommodation and the speed skating track and curling rinks being relocated to the athletes village to create the first ever Winter Olympic Training Centre in the Southern Hemisphere. This would be a massive bonus to our bid should be proceed with one.

I feel that with the Olympic Agenda 2020 coming up this is New Zealand's best chance of ever hosting the Winter Olympics.

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Interesting reading Bruce.

While I'm not in the camp of seeing this as a realistic option at the moment, it's good to see someone asking questions, and asking those questions in relation to Agenda2020.

Certainly a different approach to Bruce Ullrich and the feasibility study done for the 2006 Games (a surprisingly large and comprehensive document which was produced btw).

I guess all options need to be on the table with the current situation we are in for the 2022 Games.

The one aspect of this concept is that it includes Queenstown, something that was severely missing from the Christchurch 2006 bid plan, how you could even mention a Kiwi Olympic Winter Games bid and not including this.....

P1100796.jpg

is beyond me.

Still, once the transport is overcome, I am not entirely sure of public support.

I kind of see NZ as the Sweden/Norway of the Southern Hemisphere - the public are very sceptical of events like this and spending on it.

I think a key for any NZ bid for a winter games or commonwealth games, has to be that we need to stay away from the number 8 wire mentality. If we are serious about bidding for anything, we need to stay clear of naive minds who think it's ok to propose speed skating in a wool shed. As odd as it sounds, container terminal was proposed as a venue for 2006.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we had the hugely successful and professionally well run 2011 rugby world cup.

In any case, it's nice to see a new angle.

It asks many questions, and that can't be a bad thing at the moment for the Olympic movement, in particular for the winter Games.

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With the accommodation issue, my proposal was for Christchurch was for an athletes village to built on the old salesyards site and some media villages built on empty sites in and around the central city as well as using the accommodation available at University of Canterbury and secondary school boarding houses. Also, a couple of cruise ships could be docked at Lyttelton. I would assume that would add a couple of thousand rooms. Lastly, we could use a homestay programme which would add more rooms.

That would still leave the bid many thousands of hotel rooms short. You need 7,000 (and by 2026 that should have jumped to 9-10k) hotel rooms just for the media alone. And that's before counting officials, volunteers, games-associated laborers, out of area security personnel, fans, etc, which are at least another sixty thousand people altogether.

It's much more realistic to think the IOC would allow changes in transportation than to think that they would allow the host to cut media and security personnel by 50%.

Edited by Nacre
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@G_Hunter good thinking on the cruise ships (may need 5 rather than 2 though), on that basis Christchurch may be in the running (preferably with Auckland's 1.4mn people in behind it). Some other good points too.
@mattygs hear you on the 2006 Games and Queenstown but I guess it was done in 1998 when Queenstown wasn't such a large alpine resort and didn't have the large international airport.

I think a key for any NZ bid for a winter games or commonwealth games, has to be that we need to stay away from the number 8 wire mentality.

Well put. We need to be cost effective not amateur (like the Rugby World Cup I guess).

As a side note Bruce, I'm wondering if you had contemplated the possibility a youth winter games bid (or a summer one for Auckland)?

@mattygs I agree, like Oslo has ended up doing. You're in good company, our previous President of the NZOC Sir Eion Edgar has that even if we aim for a winter Olympics we may find we can only do the youth version - a worthy event in its own right.

I guess a key point of my report is to do the full feasibility study post Agenda 2020 report and make a decision with all the facts, regardless of where that leads.

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I assumed Wanaka would have to be involved because it has the 800m vertical for Men's Downhill. Can this be achieved for Queenstown or Christchurch?

As for Christchurch accommodation, it can be achieved by a mix of cruise ships, new and rebuilt hotels (didn't that major Christchurch hotel suffer damage during the earthquake?) as well as the all important media being housed in their own village. It can work.

A new athletics facility serving Speed Skating during the Games, perhaps the world's first convertible indoor/outdoor facility? The existing arena for Ice Hockey II. A temporary one for Ice Hockey I. A new 12,000 seater for Figure Skating and Short Track. You can have Curling in Queenstown and serve as a legacy multipurpose venue for that region.

All ice events (except Curling), ceremonies and some lesser alpine events, Cross Country Skiing/Biathlon could be held in Christchurch.

Queenstown would have Curling, higher alpune events, snowboard, Ski Jump and Sliding Track.

A live site could be in Queenstown, so they can be part of the ceremonies.

Aside from the obvious season issue, NZ can do it, where Australia would struggle because we don't have a mountain of 800m vertical. Do it for the Southern Hemisphere! Don't let Chile host first!

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@Lord David All your points are good ones!


I continue to investigate Downhill possibilities (seeing a FIS homologater on Monday and a man related to Treble Cone shareholders re his TC idea on Tuesday) but, for example, Cardrona goes from about 1900m to about 1100m (top of Whitestar chair to bottom of Valley view).


I'd be keen to include Wanaka if we can sort the transport link out.


I'm not sure where Canterbury would hold the cross country type events though - keen to hear your thoughts?

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As a reference, I believe the 2006 study for Christchurch had downhill at Mt Hutt, with the run being extended down into the cark parking area, obviously nordic events set for Snowfarm in Wanaka, Bobsleigh around Porters Pass.

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