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Alta states

Willy Raine: A pure passion for the mountains

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Raine admits that ski coaching is not widely perceived as a “real” profession in Canada. But he maintains that perception doesn’t matter to him one bit. “It’s simple — I see myself as a professional ski coach,” he says. “Some people would say: ‘Big deal’ and dismiss it out of hand. But I see it as a very important job. After all, we play a vital role in the lives of these kids.”

Could it be that he feels secure in his job because he’s a second-generation coach (one of very, very few in Canada)? “If I look at my father’s life, I realize that I’ve followed closely in his footsteps,” he says. “It hasn’t been conscious. I haven’t purposely followed his lead. We just happen to share the same passions. And to answer your question — I guess yes, his example has been a very positive influence on my life.”

So there you have it. Passionate, funny, articulate — and totally committed to his profession — Willy Raine is sure to raise the performance bar at the WMSC in his new role as Soul, er, Technical Director. And given his name and genealogy, that’s to be expected. But will he be there for long? “I’m not going anywhere anytime soon,” he says. “This is my home. I like it here. Sure, Whistler is more like a big city than I would prefer.” He stops. Smiles one last time. “But all you have to do is put your pack on, get to the top of the mountain, hike over a few ridges — and now look around. Chances are, you’ll be the only one there…”

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