Putting orienteering on the map 

five "learn to orienteer" sessions to be offered in lead-up to B.C. championships

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Whistler has hosted its share of orienteering events over the years, and in September is slated to host the B.C. Orienteering Championships.

However, a few local orienteering enthusiasts, with support and funding from Orienteering B.C., are looking to establish a more permanent presence in Whistler with a full-fledged club and regular events.

Tim Andrews, who recently returned to Whistler from Kelowna where he got more involved in the orienteering community, is now working with Orienteering B.C. to host five events in Whistler this summer, leading up to the provincial championships on Sept. 22 and 23. The first event will be mid-July.

The events will touch on different navigation and orienteering skills. There will also be two or three different courses set up to accommodate everyone from absolute beginners to experienced runners looking to brush up on skills.

Through the events, Andrews said the idea is to build excitement for orienteering in the community and recruit members to a new club that he would like to establish that would operate year-round.

While he expects the sessions will be popular with trail runners, he said that's only the beginning. "There's mountain bike orienteering, there's ski and snowshoe orienteering, and the potential all year round to run events," said Andrews.

"On a personal note, I'm also hoping to get it into the schools. There are lots of ideas; it's just a matter of getting permission and support to do them.

Andrews expects that there will be a lot of interest in the community. "Every time we host an event here, locals get excited about it and want to know when the next one is. Unfortunately the answer to that question has always been 'next year.' A lot of people would like to keep going."

The orienteering sessions will likely be free to enter, although participants will have to pay $5 to become members of Orienteering B.C. and sometimes purchase maps. The Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club already has detailed maps for some areas around Whistler as a result of events that have been held here over the years.

For more on the provincial championships, visit www.orienteeringbc.ca. More details about the Whistler sessions will be posted when available.

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