Opinion » Alta States

Up on the glacier — summer fun Whistler style

by

comment

"Developing champions in life and in sport."

- WMSC mission statement

Ski racing isn't what it used to be. Once the ne plus ultra of the snowsliding world, it now inhabits a shaky environment where it is merely one of many competitive disciplines that use snow as its medium. And it happened fast. Just look at Whistler. I mean, it wasn't that long ago that ski racing reigned supreme in this valley. World Cup results were heatedly discussed in cafes, homes and restaurants from Function Junction to Emerald.

Today? Not so much. And that bugs Rob Boyd. "Would I be a ski racer now?" wonders the WSMC's sport development manager and former World Cup champ. "I honestly don't know. So much has changed... But I can tell you that it had a really big impact on my life. The lessons I learned from ski racing were invaluable. It wasn't just about winning, you know. It was about life. And now with kids of my own, well..."

Boyd's a quietly passionate man. He mostly keeps his emotions in check — this is not a guy who likes to stir the pot publicly. But his love for ski racing is different. "For sure, I'm biased," he admits. "But there's so much to learn from this sport — discipline and vision and perseverance and patience even. Not to mention love of sliding down the hill on two planks." He laughs. But then gets quickly serious again. "For me, coaching isn't just about creating future ski champions. It's also about creating responsible citizens and lifelong skiers."

In fact, he thinks research on ski racing alumni might reveal interesting data. "It would be so cool to track ski racers after their retirement from the sport and see what their success rate in life was like." He stops. Takes a long breath. " I betcha most of them would be pretty successful..."

It's easy to dismiss ski racing. "Too expensive" is usually the first dart to be thrown in its direction. And there's no doubting it. But here's a little newsflash — all high performance sports are expensive. My kids were swimmers. No big deal right? Cheap. Cheap. Cheap. But not really. Do you know how much those high-tech body suits cost? Do you know how many they needed? And do you know what it costs to get up at 4:15 every morning to drive your kids to the pool? As for coaching fees and pool time and travel expenses — it all came down to the same thing. Lots of after-tax dollars spent on your little loved ones.

It's a very personal thing though. Either you believe that competitive sport is good for the physical/spiritual/emotional development of your child... or you don't.

Add a comment