Warm, wet conditions make for slower course this year
The Lost Lake Shuffle started off with a bit of rain this year, but cleared up for the almost 60 skiers who took part.
The conditions were a little slower than last year, where the top skate skiers managed to make 26 laps of the 3.5 km course. This year the top solo athletes managed 24 laps, or 84 km in the four hour relay contest.
The top solo skier this year was Vancouvers David Kvick, who finished his 24 th lap with almost a five minute lead on James Shaw, the winner of the solo category for the past two years.
More amazing than his winning pace in the Shuffle was the fact that Kvick competed in the Randonnee Rally the day before.
"I was pretty fried. I did the Randonnee the day before for three and a half hours and it took a toll on my body. It was tough," he said.
"I just tried to pace myself for the day. The lead guys took off way too fast at the beginning, so I dropped off and did my own race. It worked because I caught up to them in a couple of hours.
"It would have been more fun to race in a tight group, but when they took off in the beginning I had to pace myself."
It was Kvicks first Lost Lake Shuffe, although he does come to Whistler every year to race in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Loppet, which in on Jan. 25 this year. He liked the format and the course, although he says he might do it with a team next year instead of a solo.
"I felt okay at the finish, but I was suffering a lot more after an hour and a half because of the fast start at the beginning and yesterday, and I was thinking about dropping out for a while. I was getting a little numb in my arm, and I realized that it was because I was wearing a Cambelback that I guess pinched a nerve in my shoulder. When I left that behind it went better," said Kvick.
Alan Carlsson was third among the solo men with 22 laps.
In the womens solo race, Arlene Schieven kept up with top men, completing 22 laps of the course. She was the only solo competitor who was still smiling at the end, something she credited to a sugar and caffeine rush.
"I feel really good. Coke works wonders," she said.
"I havent done this race before and it was the first time Ive been on my skis for four hours, but it was really good. The course was great because you never had too much uphill before you had a downhill."
Schieven lives in North Vancouver, but lived in Whistler until 2000. She skate skis a lot, but has never logged 77 km in a single day.
"Was I surprised to win? Yeah, I was. I got a bit tired around three hours in, and I started drinking pop and that just did wonders.
"I got in front early and that was it. I like racing like that, to get up front with everyone behind pushing you, and to set the pace. There were a couple of guys that I was right in with for part of the race, so I never really looked back," she said.
Annie Kvick, Davids wife, was second with 20 laps and Whistlers Joanna Harrington was third with 18 laps.
Bobby Bunbury was the only solo junior competitor, and managed 10 laps despite a few blisters and softer snow conditions than last year.
The event was a success, say organizers, raising several hundred dollars for the local Jackrabbits cross-country skiing program. The Cross Country Connection thanked all of their supporters and sponsors, including the Grocery Store for providing all of the food and the Resort Municipality of Whistler for hosting Ski Fest and allowing people to ski for free.
In the mens team category, the Haywood team of David Lyall, Bernard Leroux and Paul Smiston completed 23 laps to win.
In the womens team category, the win went to the Cougars Carolyn Rodger, Brenda Flann and Gail Morrison with 21 laps.
In the co-ed category, the team of Bob Deeks, Tracey Pope and Paul Suter won with 23 laps.