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Cross-country skiers hit course
Some of the province’s top cross-country skiers will be carving through the snow in Prince George this weekend.
The Caledonia Nordic Ski Club is hosting the 2013 Teck BC Championships at the Otway Nordic Centre on Saturday and Sunday.
Although the centre has been hosting BC Cup events annually, this is the first time the provincial finals have made their way to Otway since 2006.
Saturday will feature the classic technique, with interval start racing scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Sunday’s free technique relay races begin at 10 a.m.
“There will be points awarded for placings and then the club that has the most points over those two days will be awarded the B.C. championship,” assistant chief of competition Cal Benson says.
The B.C. championships will also act as a test event for the 2015 Canada Winter Games. About 100 volunteers will be working at Otway this weekend, individuals who will be training for positions with the Games team. The Games are scheduled for Feb. 13 to March 1, 2015.
While the 2015 Canada Winter Games will be the cream of the crop, the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club hopes to land another significant cross-country skiing event in 2014.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get the Western Canadian championships next year,” Benson says. The 2013 event is slated for Feb. 22 to 24 in Grande Prairie.
A major aspect of Games preparations is facility upgrades. Otway has also seen course changes, this weekend marking the first time new racing trails will be used in competition. Changes have been made to classic and free technique routes. Benson notes that they’re more technical, with uphill and downhill portions.
“Those courses haven’t been skied at race speed consistently or had a race,” he says, “so we’re testing them to make sure that they will meet the needs of the athletes.”
As of Tuesday, 307 skiers were registered for the weekend competition. The host Caledonia club led the way with 73 members registered. The totals included 48 from the Larch Hills Ski Club (Salmon Arm), 38 from the Bulkley Valley Nordic Ski Club (Smithers), 34 from the Hollyburn Nordic Ski Club (North Vancouver) and 24 from the Sovereign Lakes Ski Club (Vernon).
Skiers from Kamloops, Whistler, Revelstoke and Vanderhoof are also expected to compete. Weather forecasts called for cloudy conditions, scattered flurries and temperatures near the freezing point this weekend.
“It’s been a great year. Weather-wise, very few melts,” Benson says. “In fact, no real melts out there, and lots of snow. It’s been a great season.”
More information on the event is available online at www.caledonianordic.com.