Dec 1, 2003 | Marmot, Winter 2003

Snow To Surf… Changing with the times

It’s the sound of snow crunching beneath your ski boots as you slough your way up the hill to grab your skies, slap them on and then zip down the hill like a blur.

It’s the sting of icy wind on your face as you glide through the forest and the jar of pavement beneath your feet. It’s the focus required to manoever your bike over logs and the gentle swoosh of your kayak cutting across a lake. It’s the zing of tires on pavement or the slap of water against a canoe paddle. And it’s the sound of the little brass bell at the end of the race that signals you’ve won, no matter how long it took you to finish.

Twenty years ago a young man was asked to sit in on a meeting for a new race called The Snow To Surf. His name was Rick Gibson and while he’d heard of the race he was unsure of how much time he wanted to dedicate to an event that was created “just for fun”. “Participaction” was a key word in all communities back in those days and everyone was wracking their brains to come up with new and interesting sports events that everyone could enjoy. With legs that included alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, two running stints, road bike and canoe the Snow to Surf race was designed to combine all these events with much laughter and foolhardiness while at the same time providing a competitive venue for sports enthusiasts.

Little did Rick know, when he took his seat at that fateful meeting, that five years later he would be chairman of the race. “They asked me to come and sit in on a meeting. But when I was introduced as the new Downhill Co-ordinator, I knew something was up.” laughs Rick.

His interest in the race has never waned. Over the next twenty years the hugely successful race has gone through a few changes, including the addition of a mountain bike leg and last year saw the introduction of the kayak leg. “We love to hear everyone’s ideas.” says Rick and he adds that the Snow to Surf Society does their best to consider those ideas and incorporate those suggestions into the race.

Initially, the race consisted of approximately seventy teams, now there are almost one hundred seventy five. Where the average age of the competitors used to be mid-twenties, the average age is now mid-forties. “The race is aging.” Rick says, “The oldest category used to be Masters. That was for people over 30. Now there is a category called Great Grand Masters. That’s for people fifty-five years of age and over.” There is a great deal of pride in the fact that the race is no longer just a young person’s race. Competetors from every age group flock to register early and it is no secret that the race fills long before the entry deadline.

The 2004 Royal LePage Snow to Surf Race will be held on Sunday April 25th and registration will commence in early February. For more information please visit the web site

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