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Peak to Valley puts skiers on edge

Barry the Rooster crows on the podium
Whistler's Ashleigh McIvor carves her way down the Peak to Valley course on Friday, leading her team to third.

By Andrew Mitchell

It’s a rare Peak to Valley race when participants on Friday and Saturday get to race in similar conditions, and this year it was weather as usual.

Friday’s race took place under blue skies, with an inversion in the alpine and more or less consistent snow from top to bottom. Saturday was more difficult, with flat light, falling snow, and conditions that got softer towards the bottom.

The result was times that were slower by around 30 seconds on average on the second day of racing.

Not that the race isn’t challenging to begin with. The course started at the top of The Saddle and finished at Creekside, with 173 sets of gates from top to bottom — a vertical drop of 1,385 metres.

Each team of four has to include one female, and was seeded in categories according to combined age of participants. Two racers went on Friday, and two on Saturday.

Barry the Rooster was the top team overall, with members completing the course in a combined 23 minutes, 23.59 seconds. Tom Prochazka and Kent Wills raced on Friday, while Liz R. Thompson and Steve Fleckenstein raced on the Saturday in Category III (ages 175 to 199).

Best of Both was second in 23:33.00, also racing in Category III. Fred Cadham and Dana Williams raced on Friday, and Alyssa Wilson and Rob Forbes on Saturday.

Third overall were Raven Madness, competing in Category IV (ages 200-224). They finished in 24:54.99, with Jamie Edwards and Ken Chaddock on Friday and Alain Rey and Wendy Harrison on Sunday.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club, which won the past two years, placed sixth this year.

In terms of solo performances, former WMSC skier Dana Williams was the fastest skier on Friday in 5:02.94. James Clarkson was a distant second in 5:15.54, while Sean Cochrane was a distant third in 5:26.34. The mean times were in the neighbourhood 6:40.00.

Tove Paskowski was the fastest female on Friday in 5:38.45, followed by ski coach Hilary Lindh in 5:49.13. Skicross pro Ashleigh McIvor was third in 5:50.06. The mean times were about 6:57.

On Saturday the fastest male was WMSC coach Sead Causevic in 5:16.92, followed by fellow coach and former national team downhiller Jeff Hume in 5:22.50. Wild Willies racer and former national team member Chris Kent was third in 5:27.10. The mean times were in the neighbourhood of 6:41.

For the females, Anne-Marie Lefrancois led Saturday in a time of 5:37.50, followed by Charlotte Whitney in 5:53.69 and Alyssa Wilson in 5:58.15.

Special credit goes to Randall Carpenter, who competes in the Womens’ 60-Plus category in the Kokanee Valley Race Series, and placed sixth in the Peak to Valley in 6:17.05. The mean times were around 7:20.

Top Teams

Category VI (250 and Up)

1. Babes With Age — 25:01.88

2. Fifi — 29:10.04

3. Old Enough To Know Better — 30:14.74

Category V (225-249)

1. Fearsome Foursome — 27:11.23

2. Fast Company — 27:44.95

3. Cathie’s Clan — 28:31.96

Category IV (200-224)

1. Raven Madness — 23:33.97

2. Team Spirit — 24:02.14

3. Blue Ice Wrecking Crew — 24:27.66

Category III (175-199)

1. Barry the Rooster — 23:23.59

2. Best of Both — 23:33.00

3. Garbage Bay Ski Team — 24:54.99

Category II (150-174)

1. Dave, What’s the Team Name — 23:38.56

2. Wilder Willies — 23:42.49

3. Blackcomb Blacksheep — 24:53.87

Category I (149 and Under)

1. Crested Beauts — 23:36.36

2. WMSC — 23:42.25

3. Two Twigs and Berries — 25:06.74