Three-time World Cup gold medallist Rob Boyd will be taking the road named after him to work next season, as he joins the Whistler Mountain Ski Club on Rob Boyd Way as the new K2 Head Coach.
"Its eerily fitting walking down that street named after me. The (ski club) cabin is sitting where the house I used to live in was when I won the World Cup here in 1989," said Boyd. "Then theres the whole thing about my birthday being the same as opening day for Whistler Mountain. It just feels like its part of the greater plan or something."
In his World Cup career, Boyd won three downhill races, including a dramatic win at home in Whistler in 1989. By the time he retired from the World Cup in 1997, after 12 years with the national team, he had six podiums and 28 top 15 finishes to his credit. He also qualified for six world championships and three Olympics. Last season he joined the Canadian mens speed team for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games as an assistant coach.
Although he has volunteered his time to help the Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) in the past, he has never worked for the club in any official capacity.
"For quite some time, Ive wanted to get back into ski racing in some way so I took my Level 3 Coaching certification last year," said Boyd.
"I worked with the national team a little last season, but with all the changes in that organization I wasnt sure thats where I wanted to cut my teeth coaching. Nigel Cooper (program director) from the club had kept on me, an opening came up, and I jumped on the opportunity. Its closer to home, and Ill be coaching a really neat group of kids, including the kids of some of my own friends. There are the Podborski kids, the Benbows its going to be a lot of fun. It really is an exciting new chapter for me."
For the past few weeks, Boyd has been coaching Best to the Best camps on Blackcomb, which paired some of the top up and coming ski racers in the country with national team skiers like Britt and Michael Janyk, Jeff Hume and Mike Giannelli. This week the club takes over, which gave Boyd a chance to work with some of the kids he will be coaching next year.
"Its an interesting age group to work with. The kids are 13 and 14, so theyre going through some big changes. Theyre kind of going from freeskiing to having to refine their bodily movements and race gates with precision. Theyre dealing with growth spurts, and you have to keep their co-ordination level up. But theyre quite easily directed in terms of their technique. You can catch the little things now, so they dont become habits later on," said Boyd.
Although he hopes to coach for the national team one day, Boyd says he is not in a hurry to get there. "One step at a time," he said. "Right now my focus is these kids."
Once the camp wraps up after this weekend, Boyd will spend some time working with his brother at their hotel in Seton Portage. "I might as well take some time now, because things are going to get busy in the fall."
Coaches and club leaders were excited to bring Boyd on board as a coach for next season.
According to WMSC program director Cooper, Boyd is a good fit for the club.
"I think that not only have we hired Whistlers favourite son, but also one of its most humble citizens whose natural touch on skis is still a joy to watch even in slalom turns, an event he rarely skied as a World Cup athlete," Cooper said.
"Rob brings with him a rich history of success at all levels of this sport and a personality and work ethic that will be the envy of ski clubs across Canada. The only people more excited than the kids to see Rob working on the glacier at our summer camp were his new colleagues, the coaches."
Boyd will work with K2 skiers, ages 13 and 14, as they prepare for zone, regional and provincial competitions with the club. They will also get a chance to race against juvenile skiers from around the world in the annual Whistler Cup races.