Despite moving the finish line up the mountain the Peak to Valley remains a beast of a course, starting at the top of The Saddle on Whistler Mountain, winding down through Fisheye and the women's Olympic downhill course (Wildcard, Jimmy's Joker, and Lower Franz's) to the finish line.
Along the way competitors will carve an estimated 180 gates over a distance of more than five kilometres, with a total vertical drop of 1,433 metres.
The top racers will try to ignore the lactic acid buildup to break the five minute mark, weather and conditions permitting. Many racers take a lot longer to make it from top to bottom.
"There will be teams looking to win who will be aiming to make it down the course in anything under five minutes and there will be teams looking to just make it down the course, challenging their time from last year," explained Cat Webster of the Whistler Blackcomb event department.
A total of 320 racers take part each year, organized into 40 co-ed teams of four. Half the racers on each team race on Friday, March 26 and the other half on Saturday. The teams are categorized based on their combined ages.
Among the highlights are the parties that go along with the event. Things get underway at the GLC on Thursday, while Rock 1010 will be broadcasting live from Dusty's all day Friday. On Saturday night there is a gala dinner and award ceremony at the Roundhouse Lodge.
"We are very proud of this race," said Webster. "It's a unique Whistler event that encompasses what skiing here is all about: long runs, skiing camaraderie, personal challenges and the feeling that makes you get out of bed, even when you feel like sleeping in, because you know how awesome it's going to be on the mountains."
The event is sold out as usual, but organizers are keeping a waitlist in the event that teams or individuals pull out.
To get on a list contact Chloe Thomas at 604-905-2032.
The best place for spectators is at the base of The Saddle near the Peak Chair and Upper Franz's above Highway 86.