More than 450 athletes and 130 coaches descended on Whistler Olympic Park from Jan. 7 to 8 to participate in the Canada Winter Games Trials and the 2023 BC Cup No. 1. Hosted by Black Tusk Nordic Events Society (BTNES), the event welcomed a myriad of competitors, from those under six years old to those over 60, in varying distances from 400 metres to 10 kilometres. Two main disciplines were featured: crowd-pleasing "classic" technique sprints on Saturday, followed by Sunday's interval start "free" technique races.
The stakes were especially notable for youth skiers, who had a chance to qualify for the Canada Winter Games being held from Feb. 18 to March 5 on Prince Edward Island.
A BTNES press release deemed the BC Cup and Winter Games trials a "great dry run" for the upcoming International Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic Junior World Ski Championships set to grace Whistler Olympic Park from Jan. 27 to Feb. 5. The World Juniors are expected to be the largest competition hosted by Whistler Olympic Park since the 2010 Olympics.
"Racers from all corners of B.C. provided an opportunity for BTNES volunteers to fine tune our preparations for the FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships that are just around the corner. We are excited to welcome the world to our Olympic legacy venue in Whistler," said race secretary Shannon Harris.
Whistler Olympic Park staff helped 90 volunteers ensure that the weekend's activities ran harmoniously, in spite of mercurial weather that toggled between clear blue skies, blizzards and pouring rain. Full results, as well as a list of athletes who qualified for the Canada Winter Games, are available online.