The early spring in the valley has one advantage, and that's the fact that mountain bike season is getting a little earlier start than usual — and crews will have to do less digging to open trails this year in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.
Whistler Blackcomb announced this week that the bike park will open May 17 this year. Passes went on sale on Tuesday, April 16. A limited quantity are available for a special price of $549, $50 less than early bird pass prices that will be available for $599 until May 16. After that, a pass will go up to $639.
For pass options and prices, visit www.whistlerbike.com.
Sponsor ups ante for Enduro
This week it was announced that Specialized has signed on as a major sponsor for the Crankworx Whistler Enduro event, which will now be known as the SRAM Canadian Open Enduro presented by Specialized. The event sold out in less than a day this year, the result of limited numbers and the fact that the race is part of a larger North American and global enduro series.
Specialized's involvement boosts the prize purse substantially, with $10,000 going to the top male and $5,000 to the top female, plus $9,000 in additional prizes for second and third place.
The race takes place on August 11, 2013, with athletes cycling around the resort and riding timed downhill sections.
There will be a limited second phase of registration on June 1 for riders not with professional teams or who missed their chance when registration opened back in February.
For more, visit crankworx.com.
Figure skaters on parksville podium
Members of the Whistler Skating Club headed to Parksville this past weekend to compete in the Vancouver Island Skate Invitational, the first event in the "Pond to Podium Super Series."
In the Star Skate 2 category, Brennan Riddle, Olivia Hutchinson and Sarah Cull all earned gold medals, while Kate Risso, Lily MacConnachie, Georgia Strim and Eme Leigh earned silver.
In the Pre-Intro Interpretive category, Eme Leigh won bronze, Lily MacConnachie was fourth, Kate Risso fifth and Brennan Riddle sixth. In the Silver Interpretive category Caitlin Patterson won fifth.
Freeride team wraps season
A dozen members of the Whistler Freeride Team made the trip to Crystal Mountain in Washington this past weekend for the last of three Triple Crown competitions, including some athletes that were competing for the first time. Skiers were greeted by new snow on Friday and Saturday.
The Whistler team took podiums in every age group, and finished on top of the overall series standings as well.
In the contest, Jackson Bathgate and Mitchell Long tied for first in the 12 to 14 age category, despite skiing two very different lines. Nathan Holm placed ninth in the category, while Cooper Bathgate, Joshua Marangoni and Cole Alexander all finished in the top 15.
Meghan Platt won the Female 15 to 18 group, with teammate Carlene Loughlin in third. In Male 15 to 18, Tom Peiffer placed third, Reid Stanger sixth, Liam Peifer seventh.
In the overall series standings Cooper Bathgate placed first overall in the male 12 to 14 category, followed by teammates Mitchell Long and Jackson Bathgate. In Female 15 to 18, Carlene Loughlin was first by over 15 points. Liam Peiffer finished the series in third overall.
Early Bird rates for Nimby Fifty
The fourth annual Nimby Fifty Marathon XC Bike Race in Pemberton takes place on May 25 this year, and early bird entries are $75 until this Saturday, April 20, going up to $85 the following day.
The race is roughly 35km in length, but it has a few huge climbs — including the 101-switchback Big Nimby ascent — and took the top riders just over two hours to complete.
The race is limited to 420 riders this year, with $1,000 up for grabs for the top male and female pro elite riders, plus $250 for second and $150 for third. As well there are two $100 primes on course.
As well, for the second year the event will feature a race within the race, with the Red Bull Downtime timing riders on the very technical Overnight Sensation descent. The fastest male and female on that section can win $250 each.
For more, visit www.nimbyfifty.com.