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Alta States

Bob Allison - getting the best out of life

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"Just follow Bobby. Whatever sport he picks up will be the next big thing..."

National ski team alumni and sports retailer Peter Monod

Pick a sport. Any mountain sport. You know - skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, offroad biking, backcountry touring. Whatever. Now cast your glance around Whistler. A lot of big-name stars in those sports, n'est ce pas ? A lot of young hounds trying to make their fortunes here.

Still, there's one Whistlerite who stands head and shoulders above everyone else. And he's a small guy at that. And old - 51, for goodness' sake. No matter. I don't think there's an athlete in this town that can match his skills. At least not in the mountains...

Say what? No, I'm not kidding. Bob Allison is unique. A former member of the national ski team, a ground-breaking rock climber and big-wave windsurfer, a pioneering snowboard coach and fully-certified mountain guide - not to mention father to two of Whistler's up-and-coming sport stars - Allison is a true force of nature. But don't ask him about his achievements. He's far too modest to ever blow his own horn.

In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to pick him out in a room-full of Whistler studs - especially if you were looking for somebody tough. Slight and balding, with a high-pitched voice just this side of squeaky, Allison looks more like an office-bound accountant than an outdoor superman. Put him in a sporting environment however - whether an indoor climbing wall or a steep-icy pitch with tons of exposure - and the situation changes dramatically. Suddenly the insignificant-looking accountant type disappears. In his place: a mountain-sports renaissance man.

The thing that fascinates me about Bob is not so much that he's so understated - which he is - but that he displays such a wide range of talents. Meaning? Most athletes who have a high pain threshold - and a big aerobic motor - stick to endorphin sports. You know, running, riding, Nordic skiing, that kind of thing. On the other hand, most of the risk-taking community - the adrenaline hounds - stick to gravity sports like downhill skiing and snowboarding.

Bob does both. And he does them both well. There are few jocks I know, in fact, who have excelled in such disparate sports as Allison has. His secret? Wait for it: hard work! "There's just no substitute," he insists. "You can have all the talent in the world - but it isn't going to work for you unless you develop the discipline to manage that talent."

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