Nordic Festival rings in the New Year 

Three World Cup events over 10 days

After a relatively slow start to the season, the eyes of the world will be on Whistler Olympic Park in January as the 2010 Olympic venue hosts three back-to-back World Cup events at the FIS Nordic Festival.

The festival includes the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Jan. 15-17), the Viessmann FIS Cross-Country World Cup (Jan. 16-18), and the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup (Jan. 23-25). All events are free for spectators, and will be televised around the world.

A new website was launched at www.nordicfestival2009.com to promote the events, publish schedules, and provide information on the events to spectators. There is also an overview of each event to orient the public, explaining the rules, specialized gear that’s used, how the events are timed, and, in the case of ski jumping, how the judges award scores. All World Cup events this season are potential qualifying events for the 2010 Olympics, so expect the best-of-the-best in every sport.

There is also a Cadet Zone Trials for biathlon on Jan. 10, and a free public cross-country demo day on Jan. 10 where skiers can try skis by Rossignol, Salomon, Fischer, Atomic and Madshus. There’s also a Coast Cup race on Jan. 31.

February includes another Coast Cup (Feb. 1), a NorAm Cup biathlon (Feb. 7-8), cross-country Coast Cup races (Feb. 14-15), the B.C. Midget Championships for cross-country (Feb. 28-March 1).

The Olympic test events resume in March with the Ruhrgas IBU World Cup biathlon March 11-15. March also features the Spud Valley Loppet on March 1.

As well, the park will host Whistler Nordics twoonie races every Thursday, Jan. 8, 15, 22, 29; Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26; and March 5.

The Callaghan Valley, where the Nordic Centre is located, is doing better for snow than Whistler Village with a packed snowbase of about 25 cm, an unpacked based of 34 cm and more on the way this week. Just seven of 25 trails are currently open, representing about 21.7 km of the Olympic Park’s 55 km of trails.

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