The second annual Sigge's P'ayakentsut is drawing a lot of attention for a local cross country race, with registration for the marathon-style event coming in from across Canada and western U.S.
Colin Abbott of the Yukon was the fastest skier of the day in the 50km main event with a time of 2:30:48 over the two-lap course at Whistler Olympic Park on Saturday (Feb. 25). He was followed by Neal Kindree of Squamish in two hours and 32 minutes. The third place finisher was Phil Villeneuve of Canmore.
The fastest female skier in the feature event was Rossland's Kelly Geisheimer in a time of 3:06:22. Geisheimer's closest competitor crossed the finish line four minutes later. Andrea Bundon of Regina placed second and Maria Hawkins of Banff crossed the line in third place.
"There is a definite buzz about this event around B.C.," said Anders Bjorklund, owner of Sigge's Sport Villa in Vancouver, which is hosting the event at Whistler Olympic Park. "I was just in the Okanagan for a few days and everyone there is aware of the race and talking about doing it this year or next year."
The registration eclipsed last year and entries have come from as far away as Whitehorse, Edmonton, Montreal, Yellowknife, Calgary, Canmore, Banff, and even St. John's, Newfoundland, as well as from across British Columbia. As well, skiers rcame from around Washington State and Oregon.
The main event is the P'ayak 50, a 50-kilometre race open to both skate and classic skiers. There is also a 30km race, a 15km race, a shorter skit ski racer, a youth 15km race for kids 13 to 17, a P'ayak Youth Skier Cross that's 2km for kids 10 to 13 and a P'ayak Kids Tournament.
The Skier Cross is a mixed event with a team sprint, team relay on the ski playground, a biathlon relay, a Le Mans Skiathlon and the Monster Ski Relay.
The P'ayak Kids Ski Tournment is for kids aged five to nine and includes eight events — a Mad Dash, a Le Mans Race, a "Rabbit" Sled Race, a Team Obstacle Relay, A Three-Legged Scooter Relay, a Chariot Relay, a Hounds and Hares race and a Monster Ski Relay.
Over $20,000 in cash and prizing was given out at the event from sponsors for the race categories.
For more results, visit www.payak.ca and check out Thursday's edition of Pique for more.