About 12:40 a.m. Saturday the five members of Team Reebok Eco-Internet finished a brief descent of the north slope of Whistler Mountain on their mountain bikes and crossed the finish line of the 1996 Eco-Challenge. In six days, 17 hours and 44 minutes the New Zealand/Australian/American team completed the 480-kilometre race across ice fields, rivers and mountain passes in the Coast Mountains between Gold Bridge and Squamish. Reebok Eco-Internet set the pace from the start of the race Aug. 24 and finished a full 17 hours ahead of Team Hewlett Packard and Team Hi-Tech Adventure. Only 14 of the 70 teams which started the race finished. Several teams were hit by a blizzard on the Pemberton ice fields Friday. The top Canadian teams were Salomon-Blackcomb, which finished 10th in eight days, eight hours and seven minutes. Team Forest Alliance Canada, which was only formed two weeks before the Eco-Challenge started, was 43 minutes behind the Salomon-Blackcomb squad. Salomon-Blackcomb, then competing as Team B.C., was the top Canadian team at the inaugural Eco-Challenge in Utah in 1995. The team included Bob Faulkner, Ross Nicol, Robert Hartvikson, Chloe Lanthier and Alex Blodgett. The 1996 Eco-Challenge consisted of seven stages, including a horse ride and run leg, two mountain bike sections, two mountain/glacier legs, a canoeing leg and a whitewater rafting stage. The route was changed several times during the race, partly for safety and partly to get the teams to the finish by the scheduled time. The race will be broadcast as a five-part series on the Discovery Channel in February. The 1997 Eco-Challenge will be held in Queensland, Australia.