By G.D. Maxwell
Andy Traslin from North Vancouver dogged Miki Knizka for 25.5 kilometres Saturday at the first North Face Spearhead Passage, an epic, long-distance ski race on Whistler Mountain.
A highlight of the first Movement Skis World Backcountry Freeride Jam, the randonee race was 26 km in length and gained 2,150 metres of elevation from the start to the finish line at the North Face Backcountry Village just above the Emerald Chair.
In the end, the race came down to a strategic decision at the top of Glacier Bowl. Traslin, trailing the entire race, decided to shoot the bowl with his skins on. Knizka stopped to take his off. When they crossed the finish line, Traslin had an eight second advantage and took first place with a time of 3:26:21.
Mike Traslin, Andys brother, came in third, nearly 45 minutes later, with a time of 4:09:02.
"It was a spectacular race," said Jayson Faulkner, event organizer. "Andy and Miki turned in times that would be on par for Olympic athletes."
Held under sunny skies and spring skiing conditions, the race was part of the three-day Backcountry Jam, a new addition to the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.