Roughly 300 athletes from 14 different countries are signed up to compete in the Barebones Orienteering Festival, which takes place over four days in Whistler (Friday, July 9 to Monday July 12) before moving to Vancouver for two days.
There is still time to register for events and no experience is needed for some of the shorter competitions. A sense of direction, the ability to read a map and some trail running experience is all that's needed.
The first event is at Lost Lake Park on Friday, a middle distance event starting at 3 p.m. There's an urban challenge race on Saturday morning at 8 a.m. in Whistler Village, a long distance event in the Brandywine on Sunday at 9 a.m. and another challenge on Monday at 8:30 a.m. at Myrtle Philip school. The final day of competition was originally slated for the top of Whistler Mountain, but the heavy snowpack forced organizers to relocate. However, the after-party and barbecue will take place on the mountain as planned.
"We are lucky to have so many high quality orienteering events in Whistler and we want locals to join in," said race director Charlotte MacNaughton.
There are categories for all ages, eight and up, and all levels of experience are welcome. Families are also invited out to do the event together. The shortest competitions could take from 15 to 20 minutes to complete,and the long distance event could be two hours or more.
Speed isn't everything, either - the ability to read a map and strategize on the fly is just as important for competitive racers, and the area where beginners can sometimes fall short.
For more information and registration visit www.barebones.ca/whistler.