Dare to air 


Air Downhill 2002 attracts international field

With the announcement that Grouse Mountain’s World Cup downhill and 4-Cross were cancelled after race inspectors found four metres of snow on the course, Whistler-Blackcomb, Joyride Productions and Freeride Productions have put together something at the last minute to cushion the blow.

On July 5, Whistler-Blackcomb, The Resort Municipality of Whistler, Kona, Marzocchi and Race Face will host the first Whistler Mountain Bike Park Air Downhill, inviting the best downhillers in the valley and the world to tackle the A-Line run for cash and prizes.

"We are expecting some of mountain biking’s best," said Jason Roe, Whistler Mountain Bike Park manager. "Whistler-Blackcomb hosts some of skiing and snowboarding’s most high-profile competitions and we believe we have the facilities and expertise to create the same level of excitement and entertainment with mountain biking."

While the World Cup may have been cancelled, World Cup athletes will be in town for Joyride 2002 on July 3 and the July 5 Air Downhill. The list of athletes includes Cedric Gracia and Anne Caroline Chausson of France, Kurt Vories from the U.S., Scott Beaumont and Tracey Mosely from the U.K., and Mick Hannah from Australia.

Local and North Shore riders include Andrew Shandro, Richie Schley, Dave Watson and Gareth Dyer.

"The competitions are an excellent opportunity for athletes to come and see how much the Whistler Mountain Bike Park has to offer," said Shandro, a former Canadian downhill champion and chief of course for the Air Downhill.

The Whistler Mountain Bike Park is changing mountain biking by being a leader in trail and track design, and catering to the gravity-fed movement of the sport. Both the Bikercross and the Air Downhill showcase the facilities that the park has to offer.

A-Line is one of the most challenging routes in the park with steeps, jumps, and stunts – more than 60 man-made features – over 1,200 vertical feet of track.

"A-Line is in impeccable condition. Both the course and the athletes that are coming are so diverse, the action is going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen," said Shandro.

There are pro, amateur and junior races, and over $16,000 in prize money up for grabs.

To register, call 1-800-766-0449 or 604-932-3434. You can also register at www.whistler-blackcomb.com.


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