How far, and how fast, would you go for a wheel of cheese?
The answer, if previous Cheese Rolling contests in Gloucestershire, England on Cooper’s Hill are any indication, is pretty far, and pretty damn fast.
Each year, possibly since the 1700s, hundreds of brave souls literally throw themselves down steep, uneven Cooper’s Hill after wheels of rolled cheese, alternately running and tumbling through the grass in hot pursuit of a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese. It’s a blood sport, with competitors risking everything from sprained ankles to broken bones. One year a spectator was knocked out by a wheel of bouncing cheese moving at more than 100 km/h.
Despite the risks, the event is hugely successful and draws thousands of spectators each year.
Now, for the first time ever, a cheese rolling competition will be held on Canadian soil. In Whistler. During Crankworx.
The Dairy Farmers of Canada are sponsoring the first Canadian Cheese Rolling Festival, challenging competitors to catch a roll of tumbling cheese while comedian Seán Cullen provides the play by play.
The contest is open to men and women aged 19 and older, and children are welcome to participate in uphill races. Side events include Cheese Bowling, and the Cheese Rolling Obstacle Course. And if you’re not into sports then you can always visit the booth to sample Canadian cheeses and enjoy the Whistler Farmers’ Market.
The fun takes place Saturday, Aug. 16 at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, starting at noon. On-site registration is available, but you can also reserve yourself a spot at www.canadiancheeserolling.ca.
The first prize for men and women will be, naturally, wheels of cheese. Men can earn a round of Wasabi Verdelait from the Natural Pastures Cheese Company, while women will be competing for a wheel of Cracked Pepper Verdelait. Each wheel weighs about 11 pounds.
Even better, the winners also get a choice of a family winter season pass, or winter season passes for two adults. The semi-finalists will win a luxury hamper packed with B.C. cheeses.