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Creekside Zone construction underway

Sports briefs: Astle third at nationals; Mount Currie hoopster at NAIG

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Construction crews have broken ground on 15 kilometres of new trail in the Creekside Zone of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

In a release, Whistler Blackcomb (WB) said it anticipates that the five new trails, which would increase the amount of rideable trails in the park by 20 per cent, will be ready to ride at the opening of the Creekside Gondola in June 2018.

Bike park manager Brian Finestone noted the trails can be traversed by riders on either downhill or all-mountain bikes.

"The goal is to create a variety of experiences that will be welcoming for intermediate riders as well as trails that are challenging enough to keep advanced riders coming back for more," Finestone said in a release.

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park Trail Crew, Gravity Logic and Joyride Bike Parks all have roles in the expansion.

The current 15-kilometre build is part of a planned 56-kilometre expansion that will create trails from the tree line to the valley floor.

For more on the expansion, pick up next week's edition of Pique.

Astle third at nationals

Downhiller Georgia Astle took a podium finish at the Canadian National Championships at Panorama on July 15.

Veterans Miranda Miller of Squamish and Vaea Verbeeck of North Vancouver pulled away from the rest of the seven-woman field, but Astle put together a strong run to place third and hit the podium, just over 14 seconds off the winning pace.

Fellow Whistlerite Stephanie Denroche took sixth.

As for the men, Vancouverites Kirk McDowall and Mark Wallace took the top two spots while Magnus Manson of the Sunshine Coast was third. The lone Whistlerite to make the top 10 was Rhys Ellis, as he notched a 10th-place showing, just over 11 seconds back of McDowall.

Full results are available online at www.uci.ch.

The weekend before, a number of Whistlerites starred at the provincial championships at Sun Peaks.

A pair of Whistler riders podiumed in the men 17 to 29 category with Dylan Layzell earning the win and Harrison Tailby sliding into third. Nick Knapton, meanwhile, beat the field by a half-minute en route to snagging the open 13 to 16 men's event, and Zemery Foster notched the win in the UCI sport men 17-18 category. In the UCI U17 expert men event, Pemberton's Lucas Cruz and Whistler's Ian Milley took the top two spots, while Denroche was second among elite women and Ellis was fifth among elite men.

A handful of riders were just out of the medals, but posted solid showings, as Eric Milley of Whistler and Jack Linnell of Pemberton were fourth and fifth in the UCI U15 men's event, Paul Howard was fourth in the UCI masters men's race, and in the UCI junior expert men's race, Pemberton's Kolt Hoyle took seventh and Whistler's Kei Nakai was ninth.

Full results are available online at www.cyclingbc.net.

Sam-Finlay representing B.C. at NAIG in toronto

The Sea to Sky has one representative at this week's North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Toronto.

Mount Currie's Quinn Sam-Finlay is suiting up for the province's U16 men's basketball team as B.C. looks to claim gold.

The squad got off to a quick start, thumping Alberta 82-33 on July 17 and besting Minnesota 86-79 and Manitoba 91-37 on July 18. B.C. was set to wrap the round robin against winless Yukon on July 19, but the final score was not available at press time. The playoff round, with semifinals and a medal round, will take place entirely on July 21.

The Games, which run until July 23, bring together roughly 5,000 Indigenous youth aged 13 to 19 from all across the continent to compete in 14 different sports. British Columbia sent over 400 athletes to this year's Games.

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