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The Return of the Warrior — Boyd Back at WMSC after Olympic Campaign

"If you only read the books that others are reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."

Haruki Murakami


He's known mostly for his physical prowess. And that goofy, little-kid grin, of course. But it all works. A loose-limbed athlete with deceptive agility and a huge heart, Rob Boyd at 44 is still one of Whistler's most recognizable jocks.

Amazing, isn't it? Nearly a quarter century after his first World Cup victory in Val Gardena and his public star has barely faded. But time has been kind to Boyd. Whether on a mountain bike or a pair of skis - a windsurfer, a snowboard or even a pair of trail runners - the former downhill champ can still hold his own with some of the best in the valley.

And his popularity with locals hasn't waned one bit. Heck, a couple of valley dudes have even written a musical about the guy...okay, so that's a bit weird.

Still, for all his athletic achievements, what impresses me most about this Boyd character is his intellectual (and practical) curiosity. Seriously. A voracious reader - and a surprisingly progressive thinker - Boyd displays the very traits that I believe are mandatory for people who want to work with kids.

He's a lifelong learner. More importantly, he's one of those rare people who like to learn with a smile.

Know what I mean? This is a man who loves puzzles. And he doesn't often get flustered while trying to solve them. Whether it's dismantling an ailing outboard engine in a 30-knot gale or figuring out unconventional ways to engage teenagers at a Christmas training camp, Boyd enjoys nothing so much as finding new solutions to old challenges. "It's all about confidence," he says. "You have to be confident in your preparation. You have to be confident in your abilities. After that, it's just a matter of getting the job done."

Which makes his long-anticipated return to the Whistler Mountain Ski Club such welcome news. Talk about good timing. After six years as assistant coach with the women's national team  - "I learned so much during that time," he says. "It was definitely the school of hard knocks," - Boyd recently penned an agreement with the WMSC that will see him overseeing all sorts of new and exciting on-mountain projects over the next few years.

"I'm so excited to be home," continues the club's new sport development manager. "So excited to be back with Sherry and the boys."

Clearly the World Cup grind got to him - the incessant travel, the performance pressure, the isolation. "Contrary to popular belief," he says, "it's not a very glamorous life. There's a lot of work and not all that much play."

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