More than 650 athletes, plus hundreds more coaches, wax technicians, and supporters, will converge on Whistler Olympic Park this week for the 2008 Haywood Ski Nationals, the 81 st edition of the Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships. The event runs from March 14 to 23 with the opening sprint races on Sunday, March 16.
Because events are taking place on the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic venues, the event has attracted more international attention than unusual and teams and athletes have been confirmed from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Peru, South Africa, the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Canada is in a strong position even with all the international interest in the races, with Olympic medallists Chandra Crawford and Sara Renner taking part. Crawford, a gold medalist in Torino, recently won a World Cup sprint event in Finland. Other national team racers to watch for include Stefan Kuhn, Sean Crooks, Devon Kershaw, Drew Goldsack and George Grey.
As well, members of the Para Nordic team will take part, including Brian McKeever and members of the Team 2010 national development program. Whistler’s Tyler Mosher, a member of the Para Nordic 2010 team, is among the racers expected, and recently finished 12 th at the IPC World Cup finals in the classic sprint race.
Local athletes will also be able to race in several categories, and racers are expected from throughout the Sea to Sky corridor.
Mar. 16 — Team Sprints
The Canadian College and University National Championships are first up at 9 a.m., followed by the Challenge category team sprints at 10 a.m. and the Open category team sprints at 12:30 p.m. The sprints range from 700 metres to 1,200 metres.
Mar. 18 — Short Distance, Classic
The race gets underway at 9 a.m. with interval starts, followed by the awards at noon. Courses range from 2.5 km to 3.3 km, with each category making three laps of the course.
Mar. 19 — Medium Distance, Free Technique
The race starts at 9 a.m., followed by awards at noon. The courses range from 2.5 km to 5 km, with racers making three laps.
Mar. 21 — Free Technique Sprints
The sprint qualification round starts at 9 a.m., followed by the sprint heats at 12:30 p.m. Courses range from 750 metres to 1,400 metres.
Mar. 23 — Long Distance, Free Technique
The race gets underway at 9 a.m., followed by the awards and closing ceremonies. The laps range up to 7.5 km in length, with competitors making four to six laps. The open men will make six laps, plus one lap of a 5 km course.
For more information on the cross-country nationals, visit www.boldtracks.com/skinationals/.
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