It's not the Olympics, but for hundreds of athletes the Nov. 25-27 Veissmann FIBT World Cup is the first event of a three-plus year journey to the next Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
The event kicks off the World Cup season for bobsleigh and skeleton, as well as a mini-North American series with World Cup events following in Calgary (Nov. 29 to Dec. 5), Park City (Dec. 6-12) and Lake Placid (Dec. 13 to 19).
Whistler organizers are looking for more volunteers to help stage the event, including ceremonies assistants, event hosts, race officials, sled truck drivers, track crew, VIP hosts and others.
Some of those positions will be needed for the International Training Week hosted from Nov. 15 to Nov. 21.
The cost to see the World Cup events is $10 per day for spectators; children 6 and under are free, although they must get a ticket to get through the gate.
The women's skeleton and women's bobsleigh competitions run on Nov. 25, with the skeleton from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and the bobsleigh from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Canadian team of Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse - gold medallists in the 2010 Games - will be taking part, as will the bronze medal team of Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown.
Canada's top athlete in skeleton is Melissa Hollingsworth.
On Nov. 26, the men's skeleton competition will take place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by the men's two-man bobsleigh races from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Gold medallist Jon Montgomery will be in Whistler defending his Olympic skeleton title. Montgomery will be the centre of attention among the Canadian sliders as experienced teammate Jeff Pain announced his retirement last week.
In two-man bobsleigh, also on Nov. 26, there are two teams to watch - one piloted by Pierre Lueders and another by Lyndon Rush.
The four-man bobsleigh takes place from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Nov. 27, featuring the bronze medal-winning Canadian team of Lyndon Rush, Chris Le Bihan, David Bissett and Lascelles Brown. The team of Pierre Lueders, Justin Kripss, Neville Wright and Jesse Lumsden was fifth at the 2010 Olympics.
All told, Canada's bobsleigh and skeleton athletes won four medals during the 2010 Games, including two gold medals.
Tickets are available at the Whistler Visitor Information Centre starting on Nov. 17, or you can call 1-800-WHISTLER (1-800-944-7853). Access to the venue is by the Excalibur Gondola
If you wish to volunteer, contact the organizers at www.volweb.ca, call 604-964-0040 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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