It may be less than two weeks until the closing of Whistler Mountain, but the last snow race is now in the rear-view mirror.
The annual Crud 2 Mud race — Whistler Blackcomb’s celebratory event of seasonal transition — took place with over 70 skiers, snowboarders and mountain bikers tucking, pumping and railing from the Roundhouse to Whistler Village. Only this year, the usual transition around the Freight Train containers was not possible.
“This year was the first year where we actually had to stop the race, get people to re-upload to then download to get to the dirt because the snowline was so much higher,” said Seb Fremont, Whistler Blackcomb’s event manager. “The last two years we’ve been able to time everything (ski, bike and transition) individually because we’re using chip timing. The fact that we have the technology allowed us to do the race this year.”
Recent warm weather coupled with a poor snow season and early opening of the bike park meant registration was a little lower than previous years, but Fremont still sees the event as having a lot of appeal for locals.
“We’re not going to give up; we’ll keep doing what we need to make it happen,” he said.
The chairlift and gondola download gave racers a rest in between the two stages, something that is usually only available to the relay teams.
“It was super fun,” said Mike “Jobbo” Jobson, who won the Snowboard Male 19 - 39 category in his first ever Crud to Mud with a time of seven minutes, 32 seconds (7:32). “It was real slush up high and then B-Line was in great condition. The changeover was something I hadn’t done before. The (transition break) probably worked out well for me, I was bit more unfit than I expected. After snowboarding in the slush I was pretty burnt. The 20-minute download time was something I needed.”
Rather than ride his bike in his snowboard boots, Jobson took the time to change into his clipless pedal shoes. The 30 second transition was longer than most in his field, but the plan worked after he made up all that time with the fastest descent down B-Line.
“It was a pretty pedally track, so I thought it would be worth the time up top to rip it up down low,” said Jobson.
The fastest overall on course was skier Paul Stevens, who completed the entire course in just seven minutes flat. Jill Anderson (8:57) and Keren Wareham (8:13) were the fastest women for ski and snowboard, respectively.
In the teams categories, Claire Ryan and friend Kristy Coghill were first in the Open Female (8:52) with the mixed team category going to Penny Laine and Rob Lane. The Open Male teams were neck-and-neck with Austin Llewellyn and Denis Courchesne against Finn Iles and Max Peiffer. In the end Llewellyn and Courchesne (6:24) were the victors, just 1.01 seconds faster than the runners up.
“We knew coming into the race it was going to be close between the four of us,” said Llewellyn. “We were looking forward to some good competition. Denis is super killer on a bike. It was good having him on the anchor part of the relay bringing it home.”
For full results and timing breakdowns head to bike.whistlerblackcomb.com/events.