Looking back on 25 years of speed

003-whiteyTime flies almost as fast as a speed skier when the going’s good.

Known as the fastest non-motorized sport on the planet, speed skiing first came to Sun Peaks (a.k.a. Tod Mountain) in April 1989. Back then, local speed racer Kenny Dale, along with several speed skiing buddies, hosted the inaugural Tod Mountain Spring Romp on the Headwalls Speed Track.

That was 25 years ago, and what started as a local ski race has come a long way. The name changed first to the Velocity Challenge, then to the FIS Speed Ski World Cup, but many of the faces have remained the same. Don Gagnon, Canada’s 3rd fastest man (226.27 km/h), has raced every race held at Sun Peaks, while Aleisha Cline, John Dormer, NASCAR racer Jason White and Canada’s fastest man on skis, Justin Garey (234.83 km/h), all got their first taste of speed at Sun Peaks.

“Twenty-five years ago we raced each other for beer and bragging rights, and now we race against the fastest skiers on the planet for World Cup trophies,” jokes Adam Earle, chair of the Sun Peaks Speed Skiing Club. “The only real difference 25 years has made is the preparation of the track, the number of countries involved, the caliber of the racers and the price of beer if you lose to your buddies.”

Sun Peaks has the designation of being the fastest ski town in North America, with 10 past or present residents being members of the exclusive 200 km/h club.

“As far as speed skiing races go, we’re it in North America” said Earle. “There’s no other resort that hosts a racing event like we do and it’s the passion of the local racers, the volunteers and the community that make it happen.”

The 2014 Sun Peaks FIS Speed Ski World Cup, March 5 to 8, 2014, will once again be the only event of its kind in North America, and the only FIS Speed Ski World Cup event outside Europe this season.