Theres snow in the upper alpine, more is on the way, and the excitement is building for the start of the 2004-05 ski season.
Blackcomb will open tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 20, and Whistler five days later. That gives locals about three weeks to get ready for the first competitions of the season.
From December to May, Whistler-Blackcomb hosts dozens of events for skiers and boarders, locals and visitors, and pros and amateurs, with formats ranging from new school rail jams to old school gate skiing. Prior competition experience is not a requirement in most events, just a few bucks and sense of adventure. Participants are generally well rewarded with draw prizes, after parties, and good company.
You can register for most events in advance at any Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations location, or by calling the reservation centre at 1-800-766-0449. Race day registration is also available, at a time and location selected by race organizers.
Sprite Park Rider Series Dec. 12 to May 15
The popular Sprite Park Rider Series returns on Dec. 12, with a Rail Jam on Blackcomb Mountain.
There are seven Sprite events on the calendar this year, including two halfpipe events, three slopestyle events and two rail jams. Helmets are required for all events and mouth guards are strongly recommended.
The snow cross events have been taken out of the series, but between events like the Atomic Series and Garfinkels Double Cross, there will be ample opportunities to race this year.
The Sprite Park Rider Series is a unique amateur event with age categories for skiers and boarders from age 13 and under to 17 and over. Some of the events attract more than 100 riders with many of the age categories filling up, so pre-registration is strongly recommended. Its also cheaper, with a $5 surcharge for event day sign-ups.
The cost is $20 per event, and a pair of Atomic skis and an Atomic snowboard will be given away at every event, as well as other draw prizes from Nintendo, Showcase Snowboards and Glacier Shop.
Dec. 12 Rail Jam on Blackcomb
Jan. 9 Halfpipe on Blackcomb
Feb. 13 Slopestyle on Blackcomb
Mar. 20 Slopestyle on Blackcomb
Apr. 3 Halfpipe on Blackcomb
May 8 Slopestyle on Whistler
May 15 Rail Jam on Whistler
For more information visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events/snowseries.asp
Kokanee Valley Race Series Dec. 15 to Mar. 17
This year there are nine events in the Kokanee Valley Race Series, a Thursday alpine racing competition with giant slalom, slalom and super-G formats for skiers, boarders and telemarkers. As in past years, the final event is a dual-slalom.