A Day in the Life of a 2015 Western Canada Summer Games Athlete

Myra Ross,
Wednesday, November 19 2014
Bed and Bike

The 2,500-plus athletes who will be arriving in Fort McMurray from four western provinces and three northern territories for the 2015 Western Canada Summer Games (WCSG) from August 7-16, 2015 will be pleasantly surprised when they land at the official Athletes’ Village: Noralta Lodge

They will need comfort, security, sound sleep, good food, recreational facilities, places to gather for fun and socializing, clean socks and a place to hang their medals. And it’s all waiting for them at Noralta Lodge, which has an accommodation capacity of 3,280 rooms just 20 minutes north of the Fort McMurray downtown core.

Two of Noralta’s lodges, the Wolverine and the Lynx, which contain 1,512 rooms, are reserved for male and female athletes respectively during the Games. Attending coaches, officials and family members will be housed at adjacent lodges a short walk away. At the entryway of each lodge, there are storage areas for foot and outdoor wear. Each athlete will be assigned to a private, welcoming, colourfully-appointed living space of 126 square feet that include a comfy bed, a closet, a shower, a separate toilet, a separate sink/mirror area, a study desk, Wi-Fi, TV and enough breathing room to store a BIG Mountain Bike.

Kitchen scene

Chef Scott Pratico prepares lunch for the event.

When they need privacy, they will have it, and when they want to socialize, there will be many options. Each of the two lodges is equipped with a large cafeteria and dining room that, due to floor to ceiling windows, captures every ray of outdoor sunshine

There are real Chefs (Scott Pratico is the head Chef) that plan and execute the home-style meals and the kitchen facilities are accessible 24/7. There are recreational and laundry facilities. So there is every comfort of home. And the excitement of being in the likes of a five-star hotel, away from home, with other competitive athletes.

On Thursday, Nov. 13, Kim Rizzi, General Manager, 2015 WCSG, welcomed media and special guests to Noralta Lodge to officially announce that it will be the official Athlete’s Village for the Games. To mark the occasion, Rizzi presented Corey Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Noralta Lodge, with a Games flag, and there was official representation at the event by the Alberta Sport Connection, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Rizzi also announced that Driving Force of Fort McMurray, another new sponsor, is providing 57 vehicles for use during the Games. Shane Boersma, Manager, was on hand to hear the announcement in person.

Flag presentation

Kim Rizzi, General Manager, 2015 Western Canada Summer Games, presents an event flag to Corey Smith, President & CEO of Noralta Lodge.

But the best feature of the afternoon’s showcase of what a day in the life of a 2015 Western Canada Summer Games athlete will look like was the spread prepared for lunch. Dave Bulloch, Chief Operating Officer and Chef Scott Pratico, did note that the menu was a tad gussied up for the occasion and somewhat elevated from the daily menus to be presented to the athletes next year, but there will still be a variety of smoked meats, freshly cooked vegetables, colossal desserts and tantalizing tidbits here and there

Asked why the Noralta Lodge accommodations are so much nicer than many oil sands camp sites, Bulloch explained that the founder of the company has an extensive background in the energy service industry and believes that a contented work force is a high performance work force. Bulloch added that that Noralta Lodge has gathered the statistics that show and prove that this strategic approach is sound and that it’s one that benefits the bottom lines of employers

Security is a priority. Dale Bendfeld of the RCMP is the Manager, Safety/Security/Operation, and Mark Kay of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is the Manager, Integration. It is Kay’s challenge to ensure that all of Bendfeld’s security requirements are maintained while fostering a welcoming, exciting, fun time for the athletes.

Some features of Kay’s slide presentation show that everything that can be done in both areas of concern has been addressed. The Athletes’ Village will be surrounded by a very large fence and monitored by a safety and security-conscious group of experts. But within the Athletes’ Village, there will be welcoming, volunteer Ambassadors, activity and event schedules and, of all things, a fire pit for round-the-campfire singing sessions on those long, sunlit days of August. Just the kind of experiences that make marvelous memories of the summer of 2015.

Site map

Just a few of the amenities of the 2015 Athlete's Village are an Inter-faith Room, a  Helipad and a Firepit.

The Athletes’ Village is a fast, 20-minute bus trip from downtown Fort McMurray. After their sport events, the athletes can return to Noralta Lodge for some good food, some sound sleep, and some fun activities with their fellow athletes – and to wash their socks

It will be the experience of a lifetime

About Noralta Lodge

Noralta Lodge stared in 1997 with Lance Torgerson who was born and raised in Northern Alberta. Connected to the Alberta energy service industry (and still the youngest town councillor in the history of Slave Lake) Torgerson owned and operated a number of business ventures before starting Noralta Lodge under the name of Kamp Keltor. He attended the University of Calgary and graduated from NAIT with a Business Administration in Management degree. He also received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 Prairies Award for Energy, Privately Held, as well as the NAIT 2013 Alumni Award of Distinction.

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