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Sports Briefs: Bike Park opening dates announced

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As last year's Herculean effort to clear several metres of snow from the trails showed, the days of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park opening when conditions permit are long behind us. Opening day is now etched in stone, and with the use of shovels and machines the first gravity-fed riding of the season will get underway on Friday, May 18, the start of the Victoria Day long weekend.

Several projects should reach completion this year, including the new Top of the World trail from the peak of Whistler Mountain and new sections of Blue Velvet in the Garbanzo Zone.

An early bird season pass is $499 through May 31, going up $50 on June 1. Buying the early bird pass will also get one Peak Ride ticket to sample Top of the World and a bring-a-friend ticket that's valid until June 22.

Also back this year is the Triple Play Card for $139, which includes three full days of park riding. If you buy it before May 31 you'll get an additional day pass before June 22. You can also load an additional three days onto the pass for $99. Taken together, that's a total of seven days of park riding for $238.

Another option to consider is the Twilight Triple Play Pass, which includes three full days in the park and free riding after 5 p.m. from June 16 to Sept. 3. Buying before May 31 will get you an extra day, and three additional days are also available for $99.

Discounts available include 15 per cent off food at GLC, 20 per cent off food at the Roundhouse Lodge, 20 per cent off retail at Garbanzo Bike & Bean, and 20 per cent off rentals at Garbanzo Bike & Bean and the Whistler Mountain Bike Park Demo Centre.

For more, visit www.whistlerbike.com.

Canadians on podium at Sea Otter

Courtenay B.C's Geoff Kabush pulled out a big win this past weekend at the annual Sea Otter Classic in California, winning the men's cross-country race by over a minute. Max Plaxton was third in that race, while Neal Kindree placed 11th and Kris Sneddon 12th in a field of 85 racers.

In the short track event the podium was reversed with Plaxton in first and Kabush in third.

In the women's race, Kamloops' Catharine Pendrel placed second to American Georgia Gould, with Emily Batty of Ontario in third. Pendrel was also third in the short track event.

In downhill, Tyler Allison placed 78th in the men's downhill, on a short course where every second counts and you couldn't afford a single mistake.

In Pro Women, Squamish's Miranda Miller placed fourth, followed by Holly Feniak of Sechelt in fifth.

Eagles RLFC make home field in Squamish

The Sea to Sky Eagles Rugby League Football Club has established a home field for the upcoming season, announcing this week that the team will practice and play this season at Mamquam Elementary School in Squamish.

This is the second year for the club, which was created to promote the sport in B.C. and nationally as the sport of rugby league — a popular variation of rugby — continues to grow.

The team has been practicing for a few weeks and will play its season opener at home on May 12, hosting the Kelowna Crows.

The Eagles are still recruiting players, as is the provincial and national team, which will draw players from clubs around B.C. and Canada.

If you're interested in learning more or playing with the Eagles, they practice at 1 p.m. every Saturday at Mamquam Elementary. No experience is necessary and equipment requirements are minimal.

For more information, contact Ally Mac at s2seagles@hotmail.com.

Rugby league is similar to rugby union in many ways. The ball is the same, as the goal of moving the ball downfield with kicks and by passing it backwards. The differences are significant. In rugby union, each team fields 15 players, while rugby league teams have 13 on the field. The fields are also different — wider and shorter than rugby union.

There are no set plays (line-outs and scrums), and the play stops whenever a player is tackled without releasing the ball. Six tackles equals a turnover, as do dropped balls, balls knocked forward, penalties, out-of-bounds players, etc.

If a team reaches the other teams goal area and touches it down they received four points (versus five for rugby union), and a chance to kick a conversion for two more points. Drop goals are worth one point in league, and penalty kicks two points.

Bike Swap volunteers needed

WORCA is still looking for volunteers to help out with its annual bike swap on Saturday, May 5 — a fundraiser for youth programs. If you can spare a few hours on Friday or Saturday, email info@worca.com. Volunteers will get an invite to WORCA's year-end volunteer party.

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