Sports

Black Jack hosts Haywood NorAm

Close to 400 racers, coaches, and supporters will descend on Rossland and the Black Jack cross country ski facility for the Haywood NorAm and Buff Sprint series this weekend.

Some of the best Nordic ski racers in North America get set to compete in the free technique sprint, and  classic technique distance races, in addition to the Teck Kootenay Cup 1 and 2 races, at the Black Jack ski club Saturday and Sunday.

With an improved track, ample snow, and temperatures returning to normal, conditions couldn’t be better, says competition chief Ian Sibbald.

“The recent snowfall has made the conditions perfect for this type of race, and we are really looking forward to showcasing our newly updated facilities.”

There are already close to 300 racers registered, with more signing up every day. Nordic skiers from Alberta, B.C., Ontario, Quebec, and the Yukon will compete alongside U.S. competitors from Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

This event is also part of the Canadian World Junior and U23 Championship Team Trials, and a number of promising Black Jack athletes will have home turf advantage, including Julien Locke, David Palmer, and Geoffrey Richards.

It is the biggest event of the year for the Black Jack Ski Club, and locals should see a lot of traffic not only on the track, but in the stores, hotels, and restaurants.

“This event has proven to be a major economic generator for the Rossland tourism community,” said Tourism Rossland’s Deanne Stevens. “We see a terrific amount of spin-offs for accommodation, restaurants and retail during these races.”

So plan on stopping by this weekend and watching the highest level of racing in North America.

“Black Jack has really put itself on the map for consistently hosting great events” says Dave Dyer, Events Director for Cross Country Canada. “Enthusiastic volunteers, great snow, great trails, top notch grooming, a strong race committee, and a very welcoming town - the perfect mix. We’re very excited to see all the trail improvements they have made.”

Head-to-head sprints start Saturday at 9 a.m. with the elimination heats going at 11:30 a.m. Sunday morning will feature the beautiful and grueling classic distance event, starting at 9 a.m. for the women and 10 a.m. for the men.

The Black Jack Ski Club is always looking for volunteers. For more information go to skiblackjack.ca.

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