Sports Briefs: Nordic fest continues with XC nationals 

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Only a few members of the national team made it to the biathlon nationals at Whistler Olympic Park this week, with some athletes opting to stay home and others taking part in an event in Siberia, Russia to earn more international points.

The Haywood Ski Nationals, the national championships for cross country from March 23 to 30, will be a different story as World Cup athletes are expected to take part. Some of the members of the national team already confirmed include Len Valjas, Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova, and possibly Ivan Babikov. Alex Harvey, Devon Kershaw and Chandra Crawford have not confirmed at this point.

Locally, Whistler will be represented by several athletes at the senior and junior level including Nicki Murdoch, Lauren Doak, Jenya Nordin, Keeley Wentzel, Austin Reith, Michael Murdoch, Fraser Doak, Benita Peifer and others, plus several masters-age racers. As well, members of the Callaghan Valley Training Centre will be on hand to do battle against athletes from other national development centres across Canada.

The opening event is the team sprint on March 23, followed by the interval start skate race on Sunday, the interval start classic race on Tuesday, the short classic sprint on Wednesday, the long classic sprint on Thursday and the free technique mass start race on Saturday, March 30.

Overlapping the Haywood Ski Nationals is the 2013 Aviva Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Nationals. Visitors to Whistler Olympic Park can watch ski jumpers train all of next week before the opening Normal Hill and Nordic Combined competitions on Friday. The main event, the Large Hill competition takes place on Saturday, Mar. 30.

Admission to Whistler Olympic Park is free to spectators, but you must check in at the ticket booth. The schedules are subject to change, but visit for details.

Maltais back on podium

Quebec's Dominique Maltais added a silver medal to her collection as the snowboardcross World Cup tour shifted to Veysonnaz, Switzerland last week, bringing her total for the 2013 season to five — and her career tally to an even 30. Five medals matches her best season on the World Cup tour, and secured her the overall World Cup title for the season — her fourth career crystal globe.

Squamish's Maëlle Ricker placed 10th on the day, while Zoe Bergermann was 25th, Whistler's Carle Brenneman was 26th and Tess Critchlow was 29th.

Squamish's Rob Fagan made the final in the men's event, but finished just off the podium in fourth. Meanwhile North Vancouver's Chris Robanske was knocked out of the finals but won the small final race to place fifth on the day. Jake Holden was 28th to round out the top 30.

The event set up a snowboardcross team event, where the first athlete to the bottom opens the gate up top for the next athlete by crossing the finish line. It was a double gold day for Canada with Robanske and Fagan winning the men's event and Maltais and Ricker placing first for the women.

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