Conditions werent the greatest for the 51 skiers who took part in the third annual Life-Link/Dynafit Randonnee Rally on Whistler last Saturday, Jan. 8. It was cold, icy and overcast, with frigid winds that froze the sweat to your face. Still, competitors were upbeat about the weather as more than one racer put it, "if you think this is bad, you should have been here yesterday."
"At least you could see," said Revelstokes Greg Hill, who has won the Whistler event of the Randonnee Rally series for the past two years. "Yesterday it was total whiteout, and I was afraid it would be the same today."
The Randonnee Rally is essentially a ski touring race where competitors skin up and ski down aspects of a high alpine course. The course itself was close to 10 km long with approximately 5,000 vertical feet of climbing and almost the same amount of descending.
Hill, competing in the race category, completed the course in one hour, 39 minutes and 49 seconds, almost seven minutes faster than his closest competition, and 40 minutes faster than last years time.
Despite winning a hattrick in Whistler, Hill is humble about his results after taking part in a few European events last season.
"I got sick before I went to Europe last year, I just got schooled like crazy. There were a couple of women I raced with, the guys were just too fast, and they kept beating me. It was really impressive," said Hill.
"Im not really a racer. I come out and I do well in this event, but if anyone really serious turned up I wouldnt do well."
Hill says theres no pressure defending his title.
"I do this for fun, it wont change my life whatever happens. It is fun having to defend a title, though I like the sound of that."
Racing with the recreational category was also good says Hill because the racers had already made the tough boot pack up Harveys, the last climb of the day, by the time he got there.
The second and third racers in the mens category were Steve Romeo of Jackson, Wyoming and Chris Kroger of Wilson, Wyoming with times of 1:46.44 and 1:46.52 respectively. Both racers were also with the Atomic/Patagonia Race Team, the first factory team at a Randonnee Rally event.
The top Whistler competitor was Scott Flavelle in 12 th with a time of 2:12.07. Other Whistler racers included Curtis Blewett in 20 th , Makoto Tange in 22 nd and Duncan MacKenzie in 24 th .