Rob Boyd's big win remembered 

Powder laps, a tribute to a teammate, Dwight Yoakam's boots and other memories, 25 years later

click to flip through (3) FILE PHOTO - BOYD'S BESt Whistler's Rob Boyd soars over the Fallaway during his winning World Cup downhill run in the resort in 1989. Boyd became the first Canadian man to win a race at home, and set off a wild Whistler celebration in the process.
  • file photo
  • BOYD'S BESt Whistler's Rob Boyd soars over the Fallaway during his winning World Cup downhill run in the resort in 1989. Boyd became the first Canadian man to win a race at home, and set off a wild Whistler celebration in the process.
   
 

For Rob Boyd, it doesn't take much for the memories of his World Cup downhill win in Whistler to come flooding back. That's partly because people still constantly remind him of the 1989 triumph.

"It comes up all the time," said Boyd. "At least weekly, if not more often."

And why not? Boyd's victory was not only the first by a Canadian man on home snow, but also the centrepiece of a tremendous moment in the resort's history.

Quite simply, anyone who was in Whistler on Feb. 25, 1989, has a memory — or at least a blurred one — of Boyd's win.

"It's kind of funny," laughed Boyd. "I could probably line about three-quarters of the course with people who said they were there, saying, 'Oh yeah, I was up there at Coach's Corner,' or 'I was hanging from a tree at Fallaway,' or 'I was at the finish.'"

And Boyd was back there himself to mark the 25th anniversary of his victory when it passed last week. Whistler Blackcomb (WB) groomed up the old downhill course last Tuesday and made it its Run of the Day, while Boyd strapped on an old pair of his 223-centimetre Fischers from the late 1980s and re-lived the moment with family and friends.

"A lot of the staff here were here then or remember the day, so it was a good excuse to swap some stories and have a great day on the mountain," said Peter "YP" Young, WB's events manager and the assistant chief of course the day Boyd won.

"It was a great day of skiing."

Boyd remembers great skiing on Whistler on the morning of his win 25 years ago, too. He even found time for a pre-race powder lap.

Clicked into his downhill skis after the morning course inspection, a 23-year-old Boyd spotted some untracked snow while riding up on the Red Chair.

"I looked over at the top of Franz's Meadow, and there was a little chute there that hadn't been skied. And I said, 'Wow, I think I'm gonna go ski that,'" recalled Boyd. "I skied over to (the old) Peak Chair, got off at midway and traversed along the ridge there, found my lines and down through the powder I went, face shots (and everything). Then, I got back to the top, got ready for my run, and did what I did.

"The rest is history, as they say."

***

The 1988-89 season hadn't been a memorable one for the Canadian alpine team when the World Cup circuit arrived in Whistler. Boyd had got back on the podium at Val Gardena, Italy, after winning there each of the two seasons before, but that was the team's only top-three finish in a downhill to that point. The Canadians were also reeling from Brian Stemmle's horrible, life-threatening crash in Austria just weeks before.

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