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Ski club rules Peak to Valley

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Combined time of coaches, racers over a minute faster than competition

Although they were off duty, a group of coaches from the Whistler Mountain Ski Club last weekend gave the competition at the 2004 Appleton Rum Peak to Valley Race a lesson they won’t forget, posting the fastest time overall and in the 76 to 134 combined age category.

The three coaches, Rob Boyd, Sead Causevic and Katie Dunn and former star racer Jamie Finlayson, finished the race with a combined time of 20 minutes, 14.63 seconds. Wild Willies was second overall in 21:29.29 and the Drunken Masters were third in 22:42.88, with both teams winning their respective age divisions.

A total of 79 teams took part this year in six different combined age categories. The whole event sold out in July.

On Friday, the first day of racing, snow and high winds in the alpine kept the Peak Chair closed and forced organizers of the race to move the event down to the reservoir on Whistler Mountain, just below the T-bars.

It was still a long course with 127 gates, a course length of 4.9 kilometres and a total vertical drop of 1,225 metres – almost 4,020 feet.

Rob Boyd posted the fastest time of the day at 4:10.78, more than 13 seconds faster than Alain Rey of the Pro’s Recking Crew at 4:24.09. The third-fastest racer on Friday was Joe Hertz of the Crested Beauts in 4:27.86.

Although this was Boyd’s first time racing the Peak to Valley, he’s been a race forerunner a couple of time and knew a little of what to expect.

"You need to conserve energy certain sections, some of the steeper parts. You conserve energy when it’s flatter by building up speed and maintaining it, although your legs do tend to give up on you," said Boyd.

"It was tough. My legs are just starting to get better."

Boyd also credits his time to taking the occasional leap of faith over the rollers.

"The gate setup was a big surprising on the lower sections of the course, and you weren’t allowed to inspect it so you didn’t know what was going to happen," he said. "In races, you always have to be able to see the next set of gates, but that wasn’t the case. I got the feel for the course coming, took a few chances over the rollers, and I’m lucky that I didn’t make any big mistakes."

While Boyd said he was relieved that the course was shortened for his day, he says part of the appeal of the race is that the course is so long.

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