First ever Winter Youth Olympic Games get underway 

The first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games, shortened to YOG, get underway in Innsbruck, Austria on Jan. 13 and run for 10 days.

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First ever Winter Youth Olympic Games get underway

The first ever Winter Youth Olympic Games, shortened to YOG, get underway in Innsbruck, Austria on Jan. 13 and run for 10 days.

Canada qualified a full team of 51 athletes for the event, which will travel with Olympic cross-country champion Beckie Scott as their Chef de Mission. Roughly 1,100 athletes for over 60 countries will take part, with the events open to kids between 14 and 19 years as of Dec. 31.

Canadians will be competing in ice hockey (naturally), alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, bobsleigh, skeleton, luge, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, snowboarding, and curling.

There are no Sea to Sky athletes in the competition, but some athletes like Invermere's Martin Grasic (alpine skiing) and Calgary's Shannon Gunning (ski halfpipe) have spent time in Whistler training and racing. Biathlete Sarah Beaudry of Prince George has also spent time training and competing at Whistler Olympic Park.

Updates for the competitions will be posted at www.innsbruck2012.com.

Under 13 Snowcross next week

On Jan. 21-22, Whistler Blackcomb is hosting the first of three ski and snowboardcross events, limited to skiers and riders aged 13 and Under as of Dec. 31.

The event takes place over two days, with training and qualifiers on Saturday and more training followed by the brackets on Sunday. All of the racing takes place on Blackcomb on the snowcross track.

All of the participants must wear helmets, and mouthguards and other protective gear is recommended. Because it's an under 13 event, athletes need a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

Early registration is available for $44.80 online and at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations, and you can register on Saturday morning until 9:30 a.m. at the Rendezvous Lodge for $50.

With strong participation from the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and other youth programs, early registration is recommended — the number of entries in each category is capped, and some could sell out before the day of the event.

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