Fire destroys ski team's equipment

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:55 PM ET

The Canadian men's alpine ski team will open its training camp in New Zealand later this month despite losing all its equipment in a warehouse fire at Heathrow Airport in London last week.

The gear, estimated to be worth $150,000 by Alpine Canada president Gary Allan, was being stored at the airport. Reports indicate the July 9 blaze started when a forklift caught fire in the warehouse.

"This has come as quite a shock to us but we¹ve decided to push ahead with this important training camp," Allan said in a media release Wednesday.

"Literally everything that we had for the camp, all the skis, electronic timing, communications and computer equipment has been lost. So at this point we are starting from scratch and working our way toward what is needed to make this training camp happen."

Insurance is expected to cover most of the cost of replacing the equipment but the process is expected to take months. That will come too late for the on-snow training camp at Coronet Peak in late July, leaving the team scrambling for new gear.

"Obviously what we are mobilizing now, and require the most, is to replace the equipment and supplies that we lost as quickly as possible so that our skiers can focus on training," Allan said. "The co-operation that we have received from our many suppliers and partners has helped a lot, but there¹s a long way to go. The national teams have a lot of momentum following the Olympic Winter Games and we felt this camp is too important to lose.

"This coming season is too important. We need to make sure that our skiers get on snow if we want to be successful against the top ski racing nations."


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