Torn beats Boyd in Couloir battle of downhillers
Roman Torn may be two years removed from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team but he held off the more recently retired Rob Boyd to successfully defend his title in Saturday’s Couloir Extreme race on Blackcomb.
Torn finished in 1:49.53 to Boyd’s 1:53.13 to retain the title he won last year at Blackcomb.
The race known as "2,500 vertical feet of thigh-burning hell" has become an annual showdown of former World Cup downhillers, as Torn and Boyd led a quartet of ex-Canadian team skiers in the final standings of the men’s pro division. Felix Belczyk was third in 1:53.65 and Chris Kent was fourth in 1:53.70.
The Couloir Extreme race is notorious for attracting spring snow storms but this year’s edition, one of the first events in the second annual World Ski and Snowboard Festival, couldn’t have had better conditions. Overnight temperatures were cool, which kept the snow firm, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky during the race.
The women’s pro category was won by Kim McKnight in a time of 2:04.27. Second place went to Tracy McEwan in 2:08.08 and Aleisha Cline took third in 2:10.20.
The pro snowboard category was dominated by current members of the national snowboard team. Darren Chalmers topped the field in 2:19.64, ahead of World Cup race winner Ross Rebagliati’s 2:21.09. Phil Steil, another national team member, was third in 2:21.15.
Fred Lamothe proved there may be different techniques and equipment used to get down the hill but the fundamental element is still the pilot. He won the open telemark category in 2:21.60, which was faster than all but three snowboarders and faster than some of the pro men. Fred Lavoie was second in the open telemark category in 2:39.99 and Rob Neaga third in 2:52.68.
Age category winners were: Patricia Kost in women’s 30-39 (2:39.02), Vanessa Knee in women’s 19-29 (2:36.21), Andy Goss in men’s 40+ (2:17.81), Rich Murakami in men’s 35-39 (2:27.16), Ray Rice in men’s 30-34 (2:20.97), Doug Engstrom in men’s 25-29 (2:12.96), and Russel Wood in men’s 19-24 (2:12.66). Kevin Smith won the open snowboard category in 2:59.81.