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Committee Hoping To Bring Olympics To Montana

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BOZEMAN -

With the 2014 Winter Olympics just days away in Sochi, Russia, people in southwest Montana have their eyes on the 2026 Winter Olympics.

The Big Sky Committee for the Winter Games, headed up by Jon Greenspon, is hoping Bozeman could be in the running to host the winter games.

The committee's website states it proposes having three venue centers, the Mountain Cluster at Big Sky Resort and Valley Cluster in Bozeman.

It says the Mountain Cluster is where the snow events would take place while the Valley Cluster would be home to the ice events and award ceremonies for the games.

Bozeman Economic Development Director Brit Fontenot said the city hasn't been approached by anyone wanting to host the Olympics, but said it would be great for the area.

"Bozeman hosting a Winter Olympics would have an enormous financial impact for the community, billions of dollars turning over in the town," said Fontenot.

Fontenot said Bozeman would have a lot of work to do before the Olympics could come to Bozeman.

"How much financial investment will it take to make the community ready to receive those numbers of people, but athletes and visitors in terms of road infrastructure, how many hotel rooms do we have?" said Fontenot.

Right now, Bozeman only has about 2200 hotel rooms.

He said everyone would need to think long term to pull off something this large.

"What happens when everybody is gone?" said Fontenot. "Because when everybody is gone, we're still here, and so is the luge track in the middle of the field over there. What do we do with that stuff?"

According to the committee's website, cities across the country interested in hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics will be invited to place their bids with the United States Olympic Committee as early as next year.

Big Sky Resort officials are aware of the committee and say they have the terrain, but couldn't comment any farther.

The host city for the 2026 winter games will be announced in 2019.

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