Peak to Valley Race sees another sell-out year

Shortened course still brings the pain for local teams

There have been few seasons in its 31 years that the Peak to Valley wasn’t able to run all the way to Dusty’s, and 2015 was one of them.

After weeks of receding snow on the lower mountain, the Whistler Blackcomb events department made the call to shorten the course last weekend (Feb. 27 – 28) to around 10 gates below Highway 86 to allow racers to egress to mid station after their run.

“(The course surface) was probably the best shape I’ve ever seen it in,” said Marcus Waring, former provincial ski racer who set the fastest time of the weekend at 3:00.36. “I was of course surprised at making the fastest time. It always feel terrible. It was like having a half-length (race) this year.”

Waring and his teammates Kyle Long, Darren Saul and Julie Cossette are all Whistler Blackcomb ski patrollers and named their team “All Wayne’s Children” in honour of their colleague Wayne Flann, who missed this year’s Peak to Valley due to injury.

“Wayne is the godfather of patrol ski racing,” said Waring, who has competed with the patrol team in the Peak to Valley six times. “I missed not having him there this year, but it’s always a great time and you get to catch up with old friends from the racing world.”

The overall fastest team went to Blue Ice Wrecking Crew, who laid down a combined time of 13 minutes, 46 seconds, just over 20 seconds ahead of runners up NZ Racers I, who won Category II (150-174 combined age).

Team Barry the Rooster followed in overall third with a time of 14 minutes, 8 seconds to win the Category IV division (200-224).

Deborah Bayliss was competing in her first ever Peak to Valley, but after the weekend of festivities and helping her team Apres Ski win the Category I (149 & under) division, she plans to return again next year.

“I hadn’t been on race skis in like seven years,” said Bayliss, who raced for Whistler Mountain Ski Club as a youth. “We totally did it for fun; we did no training and just kind of winged it, but we pulled the speed suits out of the crawl space. It was just going through some gates for old time’s sake. We changed our name to JD’s Angels after a while, because I think we were the only team with three girls and one guy.”

The two days of racing were followed by the traditional apres at Dusty’s with medals being handed out at the Awards Banquet at the Roundhouse on Saturday night.

“Every year we watch it and all the other racers tell us to try it,” said Bayliss. “But I’d definitely do it again. Maybe I’ll train a little more if it’s going all the way to
the bottom.”

Other winning teams included Team Spirit (Category V) and the Wild Eastern Flyers (Category VI)

For full results head to  www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events.

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