The annual Royal LePage Snow to Surf Relay culminates with the ringing of the bell at the Comox Harbour.

The annual Royal LePage Snow to Surf Relay culminates with the ringing of the bell at the Comox Harbour.

Multi-sport relay offers national championship

There's a national championship up for grabs on April 29.

  • Nov. 15, 2017 12:00 a.m.

There’s a national championship up for grabs on April 29.

The Canadian Multi-Sport Relay Championship goes to the overall winner of the Royal LePage Snow to Surf Relay, which takes over the Mount Washington Alpine Resort each spring. For many, this event marks the shift from snow sports to summer activities.

Here’s how to win. You’ll need an Olympic or national-level team member for each leg of the race. This means an alpine skier who cannot only blaze the immaculate course but also has quads that can withstand an uphill grunt to the top of the course before clipping into bindings. Your nordic skier needs to be a sprint specialist. The course is consistently fast, and the grooming meets the highest standards. When the last winter Olympics were held in Canada, Mount Washington hosted teams from Finland and Sweden, among others, so world-class course preparation is standard.

Unrelated factoid: If the medals won by visiting Olympians who trained on Mount Washington were aggregated as a Mount Washington/Comox Valley entry, that team would have a fifth-place standing. World class indeed.

Two running legs take the course from the mountain to the valley. A strong middle distance strider with a resume that includes cross country or trail work could bypass the mid-point transition. Be warned. This is downhill all the way with both parkway and single track sections that pound the body.

The next leg over logging road and trail rocks mountain bikes, but is ideal for a competitive cyclocross rider whose mount meets the race regulations. The course parallels the Puntledge River and segues through Island rainforest to the transition at Comox Lake, where a kayak flotilla awaits. Race bosses are debating a rule change for the leg, so check the rules as you prepare to register online.

Paddlers on this long, narrow water on the dogleg course fed by Comox Glacier can rest assured that safety boats and rescue personnel are on station. Paddlers hit the beach running through the chip timing gears and hand off the relay arm band to their road cyclist, whose course winds through the Comox Valley and along the shore of the Salish Sea.

Canoes launch onto one of the world’s shortest navigable rivers, a route winding through sand banks and over oyster beds in the estuary to the marina in Comox Harbour and the finish line bell.

Scroll down the results of past races for the fastest times for each leg. If your top-drawer athletes can meet or beat past times, the title is within your grasp.

It’s a race, a celebration, and an event like no other — in a part of Canada like no other.

www.snowtosurf.com

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