The Whistler Nordics are once again hosting a 10-race recreational Toonie Race series, getting underway tonight (Thursday, Jan. 6) with a good-sized test.
Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. at the new Lost Lake Passiv Haus, with the race getting underway at 6:15 p.m. at the Lost Lake ticket booth. The elite level races will do an 8.2 km course, while juniors and recreational racers will go 4.2 km. Everything is on lighted trails for the opener, so no headlamps required.
To participate you must be a member of the Whistler Nordics, although you can also pay a $5 Try-a-Toonie fee to take part. Memberships are available for $40 for adults or $25 for youth, which includes membership in Cross Country B.C. and the ability to race in events like the upcoming Coast Cup events.
Everyone also chips in $2 to the club.
The after-party is a potluck at the Passiv Haus. Bring enough food to share with others.
Future dates are Jan. 13, Jan. 20, Jan. 27, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17, Feb. 24, Mar. 3 and Mar. 10. For more information visit www.whistlernordics.com.
Deadline tonight for weekend Coast Cup race
The Whistler Nordics are hosting the second Coast Cup cross-country race of the season at Ski Callaghan (Whistler Olympic Park) this Saturday, Jan. 8, but to take part you must register in advance before midnight tonight (Thursday, Jan. 6) at www.zone4.ca.
It's a freestyle sprint event, which means fast-paced races with group starts off the line.
The youngest age category, 8 and Under, do a 150-metre sprint course, while the oldest open racers will do a one-kilometre sprint. Depending on the number of skiers in each category you may have to race three or more times to reach the final.
Races get underway at 10 a.m. and bib pickup is from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. before the race.
Entry fees are from $10 to $20 and include the race and lunch vouchers. You also need a valid trail pass to ski, but a discounted competitor pass is available.
The race notice is posted online at www.zone4.ca.
Revelstoke skier sets vertical record
Revelstoke backcountry skier Greg Hill, 35, set a world record last week after completing more than two million vertical feet in one year. As of Dec. 30, his altimeter crossed the two million mark, but he returned to the mountains on New Year's Eve to log another 10,000 vertical feet for good measure.
Hill is no stranger to big days. He's done over 30,000 feet in a single day several times, and in 2006 teamed up with Jimmy Faust skied over 50,100 vertical feet at the 24 Hours of Sunlight race. He also came to Whistler for several years to compete in the Randonnee Rally backcountry race, winning every year but one.
In 2004-2005 he reached one million vertical feet for the first time, which is when he also realized that two million feet was physically possible.
Hill hit the two million mark at Rogers Pass. It took him 266 calendar days to complete, with an average of 5,500 vertical feet every day - a significant accomplishment for a father of two young children. He also climbed 71 different peaks in his pursuit of the world record, including 40 that he had never visited before.
He did have company on some of those days, but estimates that almost half the time - around 130 days - he was on a solo mission. Most of those solo days were accomplished this summer, as he racked up vertical feet while touring in Chile and Argentina.
For reference, two million vertical feet is the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest from sea level to the peak, 69 times.
Hill's website is www.greghill.ca.
Hesjedal tops Canadian Cyclist of the Year voting
Victoria's Ryder Hesjedal dominated the men's voting for Male Canadian Cyclist of the Year with over 81 per cent of first place votes at the Canadian Cyclist website - hardly surprising given the season he had. Among other results, Hesjedal won the eighth stage of the Tour of California, placed second in the Amstel Gold race, was third in the Grand prix Cycliste de Montreal, and - most importantly - posted Canada's best result on the Tour de France since the Steve Bauer years, placing seventh overall and second on one stage.
The 30-year-old is now racing on Team Garmin-Cervelo, which formed at the end of last season with the merger of the Team-Garmin Transitions and Cervelo teams. Cervelo is partly owned by a Canadian company, so that means Hesjedal will be riding or a Canadian squad for the first time since he switched from mountain biking to road.
Svein Tuft, ranked second to Hesjedal internationally, was second in the men's voting with 7.5 per cent of first place votes.
For Female Cycling of the Year award went to Edmonton's Tara Whitten, boasting two world track titles plus a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. She earned just over 45 per cent of the votes.
Mountain biker Catharine Pendrel finished a close second in the voting with over 42 per cent of votes. Pendrel won the overall UCI mountain bike World Cup title and two World Cup events in 2010, but also found time to race in local events like the NimbyFifty in Pemberton and Squamish Test of Metal.
Both Hesjedal and Whitten also won the categories for Best Individual Performance - Hesjedal for his fourth place finish on Stage 3 of the Tour de France, and Whitten for her Commonwealth Games win.
In addition to those rewards, Canadian Cyclist (www.canadiancyclist.com) pickd Squamish's Lauren Rosser for the annual Roger Summer Award for the Best Newcomer. The award is not given out every year, but only when Canadian Cyclist believes that there is a newcomer deserving of the recognition.
Rosser won the Junior World Downhill Championship title in Quebec this year racing for Team Canada, the first Canadian to win a world championship title in downhill mountain biking in almost 20 years.
Wolfpack splilt games
The Squamish Wolfpack avenged an earlier 8-2 loss to the Ridge Meadows Flames with a 5-3 win on Dec. 17. It was the Wolfpack's fifth win of the season, and for the second week in a row Whistler's Matt Bonin played a major role in his team's offence.
Bonin scored twice in the first period, both assisted by teammate Mico Dragutinovic. Konrad Sander also assited on the first goal. The two goals earned Bonin first star of the game honours, while propelling the Junior B rookie to fourth place on the team point list. Bonin now has 14 points, seven goals and seven assists.
Squamish went up 3-0 in the opening 10 second of the second period, with Gray Meckling scoring the goal and Sander earning his third assist. Ridge Meadows scored less than a minute later, then led off the scoring in the third period to make it a one-point game. Konrad Sander scored again with less than three minutes left to give the Wolfpack a cushion, although the Flames put the pressure on again by scoring a minute later. Brady Bjornson pocketed the empty net goal to give the Wolfpack a rare but welcome win.
The Wolfpack defence kept the Flames to just 33 shots, while they managed 30 shots of their own. The penalties were also few and far between, just eight called all game, and none of them resulted in goals.
Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, they had to suit up less than 24 hours later against the Delta Ice Hawks, which are one of the top teams in the PIJHL this year. The Wolfpack made it through the first period with a 1-1 tie, with Konrad Sander scoring on the power play, but after that it was all Ice Hawks with two unanswered goals in the second period and an empty-netter in the third. The Ice Hawks outshot the Wolfpack 47 to 28 in that game, with Squamish goalie Jordan Liem getting the third star for his efforts in net.
The Dec. 22 game against Aldergrove was cancelled. The Wolfpack's next game is a home stand against the Richmond Sockeyes on Saturday, Jan. 8, with the puck dropping at 7:15 p.m. at Brennan Park. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.