After four busy years with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC), Rob Boyd is ready for a break.
The legendary Canadian downhiller has spent the past few winters serving in a few different roles for the local alpine club, most recently as athletic director. It's been a demanding job that has seen Boyd doing everything from coaching at the youth level, helping to complete the Dave Murray National Training Centre (DMNTC) post-Olympics and then managing the venue, and also ensuring a development stream was in place for athletes as they move up through the age groups.
But looking ahead, the 48-year-old has some other priorities he'd like to focus on.
"Really, it's about family at this point. With my two boys, seven and eight years old, I just feel they deserve a little more time from dad," said Boyd, who added that some time off will allow wife Sherry to focus on her home business a little more as well.
"It's not so much leaving the club as taking a rest — I needed to take a break. With all those hats I've been wearing, I was stretched pretty thin."
After six years coaching the Canadian women's speed squad in its run up to the Olympics in 2010, Boyd left the national team and became head coach of the club's then-K2 program (U15 skiers at the time). His role expanded to sport development manager and then athletic director in the seasons that followed.
Nigel Loring, the WMSC's executive director, said Boyd's presence on the hill, in the clubhouse and everywhere in between has been tremendous for his organization.
"Rob's impact on the club, just as we knew it would from the get-go, touched every layer and every individual in the club in a special way," said Loring. "Over the past four years, he's done a remarkable job of inspiring a whole generation of kids that have come through the club."
Boyd has been key to both the DMNTC's completion, and its first years of operation, since it was finished in time for the 2011-12 season. It's now an invaluable resource for the club when it comes to training athletes and hosting races.
"A lot of work went into it and I take a lot of pride in what it's become and what it's starting to produce," said Boyd. "It can challenge the stronger skiers, but also really develop junior skiers... It's a pretty damn good venue for everyone. That's pretty neat."
Additionally, Boyd said he's been able to take plenty of satisfaction in watching the local club's racers grow and develop in his years on the WMSC staff.
"That kind of stuff is really rewarding to me," he said. "What I really enjoy — not just myself, but the other coaches, too — is living up to the mission statement of the ski club, which is: 'Developing champions in life and in sport.' It's not just about them becoming great athletes, but great people as well."
Boyd said he will be working towards his Level 4 (high performance) coaching certification and perhaps take on some "freelance" work or special projects. In particular, Boyd has enjoyed organizing trips over to Europe for young racers in the past couple of winters, and said he may continue to arrange similar journeys for skiers from the WMSC and elsewhere.
As he takes his leave, the three-time World Cup winner said he thinks the club is headed in a great direction, particularly with Loring leading the organization.
"He's a very good, steady hand on the helm of that ship," said Boyd. "I see a lot of momentum and a lot of great things happening in this club.
"I'm not turning my back on the club, by any means. It'll always have a very big place in my heart and I'll always be giving back in whatever way I can."
Boyd's departure leaves another set of big shoes to fill, as FIS-level head coach Ryan Jazic is taking over the reins of the women's B.C. Ski Team next season. Loring said there has already been strong interest from candidates interested in replacing Jazic, and the club will be looking for another athletic director as well.
"We may tweak the title on that slightly, but in no way, shape or form are we planning to replace Rob Boyd, because we just can't," said Loring. "There's nobody like him."
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