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Big Mountain Experience schedule

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Friday, Jan. 10

Backcountry Tour – Join a professional from the Whistler Alpine Guides Bureau outside the ski area boundary for a day of serious vertical and a taste of Coast powder. Meet at Escape Route in the Marketplace at 8:30 a.m.

Canadian Freeskiing Championships – With the qualifiers all wrapped up, the first day of the finals will take place on Friday, starting with the women at 9:30 a.m. The venue on Blackcomb Mountain will be decided the night before at the athlete’s meeting, but you’ll be able to find out more from mountain staff on the day of the contest. The best view is from the bottom.

If you’ve never seen a freeskiing contest before, prepare yourself for huge cliff-drops and great skiing down faces you’ve probably never given a second look before.

Telemark Clinics – Clinics are available for beginner to expert telemark skiers who are interested in learning or refining their telemark skills. The half-day clinics are available for $59 with rentals and $49 without. Call Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations at 1-800-766-0449 to reserve a spot. Meet at 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Mountain Adventure Centre in the Pan Pacific.

Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally – Registration for this alpine touring race takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations, followed by an athlete’s meeting. For more information, check out the Pique Sports section.

Canadian Avalanche Foundation Dinner – Join Justin Trudeau and members of the Foundation for a special dinner, with the proceeds going towards the Canadian Avalanche Foundation, which funds the Canadian Avalanche Association’s avalanche bulletins and backcountry education programs. Tickets are $150, and are available from Whistler Heli-Skiing in Whistler Village, or Whistler Mountain Ski Patrol Dispatch. The dinner starts at 7 p.m.

Big Mountain Movie Night – Catch Superpark and Ski Your Ass Off! at 9 p.m. at Merlin’s Bar and Grill.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Backcountry Tours – see above.

Demo Days – Try out the latest ski and snowboard gear at the expo centre on top of Whistler Mountain.

Canadian Freeskiing Championships – The second and final day of the championships gets underway at 9:30 a.m., starting with the women. The venue will be announced the night before.

Telemark Clinics – see above.

Life-Link/Dyanafit Randonnee Rally – The competition gets underway at 10 a.m., starting at the Roundhouse Lodge on the top of Whistler Mountain. Skiers will race the clock and each other as they ski tour up, down and around the alpine area. The Rally is a first for Canada, although the contests have been held in Europe for decades and in the U.S. for the past three years. Word has it that officials from the International Olympic Committee will be watching the event carefully for possible inclusion in future Winter Games.

Avalanche Awareness Days – the Canadian Avalanche Association’s annual Avalanche Awareness Days are in Whistler this season, beginning with a the Avalanche Foundation dinner on Friday. Saturday events include:

• Free Avalanche Awareness Activities and Demonstrations – Whistler-Blackcomb Ski Patrol will be hosting a series of avalanche safety scenarios, workshops and beacon races on the mountain starting at 10 a.m. More information will be posted on the mountains.

• Kokanee Apres Avalanche Party – Contests and giveaways will be held between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to raise money for the Canadian Avalanche Association.

• The Big Shivoo! And Rescue the Bulletin Fundraiser – The wrap-up party for the Big Mountain Experience takes place at the Garibaldi Lift Company, starting at 7 p.m. The event is also a fundraiser for the CAA’s public avalanche bulletin. There will be live music from Lappelectro, a jazz-based electronica band, and other attractions. The event is by invitation only.

• Big Sponsor Showcase – Starting at noon at Merlin’s Bar and Grill, BME sponsors and Whistler-Blackcomb partners will be on hand to show guests the latest technology and share their knowledge with guests. This will include demo’s samples and giveaways from Labatt, Mark Anthony, PMA, Suunto, Kodak, Gore-Tex and General Motors.

Sunday, Jan. 12

Backcountry Tours – See above.

Telemark Clinics – See above.

Demo Days – See above.

Avalanche Awareness Day s:

Avalanche Poker Rally at Rutherford Creek – Snowmobilers and Sled-boarders will race through a series of avalanche stations to pick up survival tips and poker cards. Once you have a full hand, you can head to the Rutherford cabin for prizes and a barbecue. Starts at 10 a.m.

Avalanche Awareness Night – Escape Route and Whistler-Blackcomb have put together a group of extreme skiers, backcountry boarders, and alpine sledders to share their avalanche safety knowledge and stories. Starts at 7 p.m.

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