WHISTLER, BC, January 24, 2008 — Picture this: The world's best ski racers fly down race courses at 120 kilometres per hour as you are Creekside with big screens in Whistler's Village Square broadcasting live feeds of all the action. Add to the mix a plethora of parties and free outdoor concerts by artists, including K-OS. Throw in a few cow-bell-wielding fans, random displays of patriotism and frantic flag waving. This isn't just any festival; it's the Whistler World Cup, presented by TELUS, which runs from February 18-24, 2008.
Whistler will host Women's Downhill (Feb. 22) and Super Combined (Feb. 24), and Men's Super G (Feb. 21) and Giant Slalom (Feb. 23). While this pivotal World Cup event takes place, more than 90 percent of Whistler Blackcomb terrain will remain wide open to the public, operating business as usual.
"After over two years of construction and preparation we are very excited to see the best skiers in the world on the brand new Women's Speed track and the renovated Dave Murray Downhill, says Peter Young, Whistler Blackcomb's Events Manager. "The snowmakers, groomers and safety crews have prepared some of the best and most challenging courses on the World Cup circuit.
The Dave Murray Downhill is named after one of the most popular ski personalities in Canada and was one of the four original Crazy Canucks. During the 1989 World Cup, young Whistlerite Rob Boyd stole the downhill gold on the downhill course, becoming not only a hometown hero, but a national legend.
The Women's competition will be held on a new course which starts on Wild Card, cuts across to Franz's Run and then connects at the bottom of the Dave Murray Downhill. Franz's is named after Franz Wilhelmson, a driving force in getting Whistler to its current status as the No. 1 ski resort in North America.
Young says part of the excitement centered around the Whistler World Cup is that both men's and women's events will be occurring during the same week, something that rarely happens on the World Cup circuit.
Five of the World Cup athletes have a Whistler connection; Michael and Britt Janyk, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Allison Forsyth and Robbie Dixon are all members of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.
"We've really got to push our limits. We've got to see what we're capable of," said Rob Boyd, the assistant speed coach for the Canadian Women's Alpine Ski Team. "We have to make sure we're skiing technically well and pretty much throw ourselves down the mountain with confidence. To pull it all together and make it happen on race day — is a dream come true. It's such a total feeling of elation and accomplishment to win gold after you put so much time and effort into a sport and something you love.
Live concerts in Village Square will also be held February 18-24. DJ Shortfuse and Black Swade hit the stage on Feb. 21, while DJ Foxy Moron, The Johnstones, and Hedley play on Feb. 22. DJ Vinyl Ritchie, Shad and K-OS finish off the concert series on Feb. 23. Visit http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/index.htm target=_blank> whistlerblackcomb.com for more information and updates about the Whistler World Cup presented by TELUS.