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Sports Briefs

Slo-pitch umpire workshop scheduled

If you like being outside and the game of baseball, the Whistler Slo-Pitch League is looking for some new umpires to step up this year.

Richard Mingotti, the umpire-in-chief for the league expects 10 to 12 umpires to return from last season, but expects that he'll need up to four more umpires for this season.

A knowledge of the game is essential, and all umpires - including the current group - are taking a refresher course on April 16, led by the deputy umpire in chief for British Columbia. The course is from 9 a.m. to the early afternoon at the Chamois le Boutique Hotel at the base of Blackcomb. The cost is $75 per person, but the league is covering the cost.

A league umpire can make $29 per game. Thick skin is an asset, but so is knowing the rules of the game.

"Umpiring is fun until something happens," said Mingotti. "That's when a knowledge of the rules of baseball really helps you."

There will be at least five slo-pitch leagues this season, and most likely a sixth as well. There's been some talk, says Mingotti, about getting rid of the sixth league this year and hosting separate men's and women's leagues, although he doesn't know if that will happen this year.

Mingotti says new umpires generally start in the entry leagues, E and F, and work their way up to the more competitive A and B games.

For more information, visit


Last weekend for Lost Lake, Olympic Park

This Sunday, April 10 marks the final day in the official cross-country season for Lost Lake and Whistler Olympic Park, although the season at Callaghan Country will remain open until May 8.

There are a few events remaining this season as well.

The Woppet will take place on Saturday, April 9 at Ski Callaghan, with course lengths ranging from 7.5 km to 30 km. It's a free technique race for the longer distances, although there will be a classic track set for the 7.5 km route.

The Callaghan Winter Sports Club is hosting the event, and online registration is available until Wednesday, Apr. 6 at Race day registration is also available from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. for an extra $10.

The 30 km Quest race is $40 ($50 on race day), the 15 km Challenge is $40 ($50 on race day) and 7.5 km Cruiser is $25 ($35 on race day). A barbecue lunch is included with registration.

The Woppet also includes the second annual "Pole and Pedal" race, joining forces with the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association Toonie race for that week. For more information visit

The other event on the calendar is the Benchmark Series "Spring Fling" on April 30. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the event, and the skiers get underway at 9 a.m. at the base area. From there, skiers follow a 13.5 km uphill route to the Callaghan Lodge, with a free barbecue available from noon to 2 p.m. The cost is $10 for a lift ticket ($5 for children and youth) if you register in advance at

This is not a race, although you're welcome to time yourself.


Final Park Riders Sessions slopestyle on April 10

All good things must come to an end. The same goes for awesome things as well. April 10 is last Park Riders Sessions presented by Telus of the season, with an all ages ski and snowboard slopestyle on Whistler Mountain.

Early registration is $29, although day-of-race registration is available until 9:45 a.m. at the Roundhouse for $35.

Helmets are mandatory and mouth guards recommended. Minors also need a waiver signed by a parent or guardian to take part.


Squamish looking to establish national mountain bike centre

Last week, Test of Metal Inc. and the Queensdale Group announced that they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the District of Squamish and Province of B.C. to obtain 500 hectares of land north of Squamish and turn it into a national mountain bike training facility.

The land, which is located opposite the entrance to Alice Lake Park in the Cheekye Fan, would eventually include a 15,000 square foot covered mountain bike track and skills area for year-round riding, similar to indoor facilities in Cleveland, Seattle and Madison, Wisconsin. The park would also feature a BMX track, skills parks, 67 km of protected trails - the length of the current Test of Metal course - and a barbecue centre with a 125-seat "cookshack" that will be open to the public. There will be a 3,000 seat arena and changing areas and showers for the BMX facility. As well, 269 housing units will be built on the site.

"With Squamish being the Mountain Bike Capital of Canada this seemed like a perfect fit for Test of Metal Inc. to get involved with," said Test of Metal president Cliff Miller. "Residents will come home from work, jump right onto their bikes, go for a rip and then have some barbeque."

Also part of the proposal is a mountain bike history museum, the only one of its kind in Canada.

Matt Ball, the previous minister of jobs, tourism and innovation, said, "These guys really did their homework. We are shocked at how everyone missed this loophole that was created for Expo '86 and appears to be applicable in this situation."

Last year Squamish took the step in copyrighting its status as the Mountain Bike Capital of Canada, alongside the town's larger designation as the Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada. The town hosts one major mountain bike race a month from May to August, as well weekly club races through the Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association.

There are no plans to relocate the Test of Metal course at this time, but in recent years the race organizers have had to accommodate logging and development along the course route. Several sections of the course are in jeopardy of being lost in the future and traverse private land. Efforts have been made to protect the length of the trail in a park, and those efforts are continuing.

The national mountain bike centre announcement comes just weeks after a proposal to build a national rock climbing centre at the south end of Squamish - a proposal that also includes some real estate development.

B.C. Bike Race over 80 per cent sold

The 2011 edition of the seven-day B.C. Bike Race is approaching sell-out, with some 83 per cent of the 500 spots snapped up as of this week.

The race runs from July 2 to July 9, starting in North Vancouver with a short prologue before the riders are taken to Cumberland for the first day of the event. Day two is Campbell River, day three is Powell River, day four is Sunshine Coast (Earl's Cove to Sechelt), day five is Sunshine Coast (Sechelt to Langdale), day six is Squamish and day seven is Whistler.

You can choose two course lengths; Epic riders will go around 50 km per day and Challenge riders will average around 30 km per day. You can race solo or as a member of a team of two to five riders.

The entry fee is $1,899, which includes seven days of racing, camping, ferries, food and aid stations and more.

The final course details are still being finalized, but some information is posted online at