Tag Archives: Rob Boyd

Rob Boyd is God

February 25, 1989 is a date that any long-time Whistlerite should remember, because on that day Rob Boyd became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup Downhill event on Canadian soil.

It remains not only one of the most memorable days in our community’s history, but for Canadian ski fans as a whole. Not too long ago, we even had some visitors here to the Whistler Museum who recalled watching the race live on a black-and-white television in the lodge at Luggy Lump Ski Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland. If that does not warm your heart with old-fashioned Canadian nostalgia, nothing will.

Canadian National Ski Team. Boyd is far right. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS.

Canadian National Ski Team. Boyd is far right. WMAS, Greg Griffith Photo.

It was a triumphant moment not only for the historic achievement, but also because Canadian supporters were still reeling from the gruesome and nearly fatal crash that Boyd’s teammate Brian Stemmle had suffered at Kitzbuhel six weeks earlier. By this point Stemmle was back on the long road to recovery and everyone was keen for a reason to celebrate.

If you watch the video clip of the CBC’s coverage of the race (available on YouTube), right after he crosses the finish line Boyd waves the cameraman over to get up close so that he can proudly announce “For you, Stemmle!” There’s also a pretty glorious cutaway to the raucous celebrations going on at Dusty’s.

Here in Whistler it was a massive community event. Rob had moved to Whistler as a teenager in 1982, so he had huge local support. The medal ceremony drew one of the largest crowds ever assembled in Whistler up to that point and the party kept going for days.

That evening a fundraiser was held at the Conference Center for the national ski team, featuring performances by Colin James and Smokey Robinson. Apparently the $125 event had not been selling well, but Boyd’s dramatic victory put everyone in the celebratory mood and all 1,800 tickets were eventually spoken for.

It was a legendary party that included, among other things, the golden boy being gifted a pair of Dwight Yoakam’s cowboy boots that Boyd proceeded to brandish on the dance floor.

Local boy Rob Boyd atop the podium, 25 February 1989. Photo: Greg Griffith/WMAS.

Local boy Rob Boyd atop the podium, 25 February 1989. Greg Griffith Photo.

This wasn’t Rob’s first World Cup gold medal, having won twice already at Val Gardena, Italy, but winning on home soil was certainly a career highlight.

Rob still lives in Whistler and remains one of our town’s biggest heroes. Just a few weeks ago there was a huge party at Dusty’s Bar to celebrate Rob’s 50th birthday, a stone’s throw from the finish line where he won gold 27 years earlier.

When he’s not celebrating birthdays you can find Rob coaching for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club. The club’s Creekside headquarters are easy enough to find, address: 2028 Rob Boyd Way.

Some go as far as to say that Rob Boyd is God:

Carving Our Way to the International Stage: The History of Ski Racing in Whistler

The Winter Olympics can be an exceptionally exciting time for Whistler residents because of the abundance of local athletes competing in the games. This year’s Sochi Olympics are no exception. Athletes from in and around Whistler will be participating this month, and with that, Whistler Museum has decided to host our February Speaker Series on the plentiful topic of Ski Racing – a thriving, momentous sport in the Winter Games.

The event will take place on Wednesday, February 19th, with an exciting lineup of guest speakers including Rob Boyd, Tom Prochazka, John Preissl and Andrée Janyk. Rather fittingly, Andrée’s son Mike will be participating in the Giant Slalom that day, and we are planning a live stream of the games – pre-event. The evening will focus on the history of ski racing in and around Whistler. Our guest speakers, accompanied by some photographic gems from their personal collections, will be highlighting topics such as the first ski races in Whistler, early ski race pioneers, local World Cup athletes, World Cup races, summer camps and more.

Tyrol Giant Slalom, 1967. Photograph by Frank Grundig.

Tyrol Giant Slalom, 1967. Photograph by Frank Grundig.

Doors will open at 6pm and the actual presentations will begin at 7pm. Admission is $7 ($5 for museum members), and if you purchase a new museum membership for the year for just $25, we’ll include a ticket for free!

Get your tickets early as only 50 seats are available and Speaker Series events tend to sell out fast. Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided courtesy of the Whistler Roasting Company and Namasthé Tea Co., in addition to a cash bar.

This is going to be a jam-packed night filled with local legends! Word is there may even be door prizes for some lucky guests.

Rob Boyd’s 1989 Downhill win. Photograph by Greg Griffith.

We hope to see you there for insight and discussion on the wonderfully elaborate topic of ski racing in Whistler!