Liz Thompson terrific at Peak to Valley GS race
It was another peak performance by Liz Thompson at this year's Peak To Valley ski race, held Feb. 3-4 at Whistler Mountain.
Competing against younger downhill skiers with national team and Olympic experience, the Comox nurse finished third in the 45-person women's race on the Saturday. Her time would have placed her 14th in the men's race.
The 47-year-old Thompson clocked in at 5:49.53. The winner, former U.S. team member 32-year-old Tove Pashkowski, finished in 5:35.13 while second-place Kim McKnight, 40-year-old former Canadian team member, timed in at 5:44.80.
Anastasia Skryabina, 32-year-old member of the Ukraine Olympic ski team, finished at 5:53.46 while fifth place Anne-Marie Lefrancois, 35, a former Olympian (2002) and two-time Canadian champ (2001, 2002) finished in 5:59.19.
"I was very pleased with my result this year," Thompson told the Record. "The competition never seems to get any easier but somehow I still manage to stay on top. Every year seems to be a bigger challenge than the last, and I just wonder why.
"Is it because: I am 47? It is the longest GS race (5,500 metres, 174 gates) in the world? My last GS race was Peak to Valley 2011? Three training runs at gate busters the week before? My lack of snow time –14 days this year as I live on Vancouver Island?" Thompson wondered.
"Then, I start to look around and see many racers of the usual race crowd is missing. Where have they all gone? Some to old age, some to ski injuries, family obligations, and some to lack of fitness, confidence and/or motivation ... but then I notice they have been replaced by a younger crowd," Thompson said
"A big challenge alright, but then it starts to come together for me. I finally realize and believe I have an amazing gift to be able to race this race. Starting skiing at two years old and racing at five years old has given me the confidence to do this difficult and challenging race, to say the least," Thompson noted.
"I have amazing family and friends I am surrounded by who believe in me, which gives me the confidence to believe in myself. It is a great journey and I will continue to race as long as it was meant to be. I will continue to race this race for all those who can’t and wish they could!" Thompson said.
Thompson also helped her team, Barry The Rooster, to top spot in their age category (combined age 200-224) with a sizzling 5:49.53 run. The four-person Rooster's combined time of 24:07.56 placed them fifth overall (out of 66) in the team competition.
The top four team's combined age categories (from first to fourth) were 150-174, 149 and under, 175-199 and 175-199.