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carney mcneney

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Nearly 20 years ago Owen Carney and Bill McNeney got involved in the Nancy Greene Ski League at Whistler Mountain because their children were in the program. Since then, the two Squamish residents have been instrumental in organizing numerous World Cup races at Whistler Mountain, played significant roles in ski racing at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, gone to the World Alpine Ski Championships in Spain, helped found the W5 Foundation and trained hundreds of volunteers across the province on the various aspects of organizing safe ski races. On Feb. 24, they will receive the 1998 President’s Award from Sport B.C. and the B.C. Alpine Association for their efforts. Last week more than 75 Weasel Workers and friends gathered in Squamish to celebrate the awards and roast the pair. "We always said, it takes two guys from Squamish to do one job," quipped McNeney, who the previous week was honoured as Squamish’s Citizen of the Year. The two have worked as partners for years. McNeney’s interest is in the safety systems now required for downhill ski races. He acts as chief of race for the Whistler World Cup races and has developed an astute political sense, having travelled to FIS meetings around the world and been instrumental in the formation of the W5 Foundation. Carney holds the chief of course title for World Cup races at Whistler, a position he also held at Nakiska during the 1988 Olympic downhill, where his son Mike was the top Canadian finisher. McNeney and Carney learned about organizing World Cup races from Al Raine in the early ’80s. McNeney says he’s remained involved in ski racing, even though his children finished their racing careers several years ago, because of what ski racing programs do for the development of kids. "The turn out quality people," he says. Both McNeney and Carney are on the board of the Vancouver Ski Foundation, one of the five partners in the W5 Foundation. Whistler Mayor Hugh O’Reilly spoke of how the W5 Foundation has made the Whistler World Cup races and festival a true community event and how McNeney and Carney have played significant roles in bringing the event to Whistler. But perhaps McNeney and Carney’s most significant contribution to skiing has been through the Weasel Workers, the group of volunteers which prepares the World Cup downhill course. Peter Webb, who became president of the W5 Foundation last year, told the group last Friday, "I’m constantly amazed by the dedication of the Weasel Workers, who are inspired by you two." One of the foundations of the Weasel Worker program as set out by McNeney and Carney is that everyone is equal within the system; although some people have different responsibilities and levels of expertise, no one is more important than anyone else. Lorne O’Connor, who competed in the 1968 Olympics as a member of the Canadian ski team, suggested that Carney and McNeney will be needed for the 2010 Olympics if a Vancouver-Whistler bid for the Games is successful. McNeney’s response was: "Two-thousand-and-ten! We’ll have to get day passes from the home just to get to the bottom of the course." McNeney will receive the President’s Award at a dinner Feb. 24 in Vancouver. Carney will be away, which was part of the reason for last week’s dinner.

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