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Saturday, January 13, 2001 -- Champion, PA
Crown Royal Race of the Decades
Story and photos by Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Results by Class] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Jacob Cline
5 year-old Jacob Cline gives it a go
The Western PA Ski Council celebrated the 2001 Race of the Decades during a fine winter afternoon on the slopes of Seven Springs Resort. With generous support from the folks at Crown Royal, Voice Stream Wireless and Liquid Speed, it was certain that a great time could be had by all. From ages 5 to over 65, they raced on downhill skis, snowboards, and telemark skis.

This long running event was once only open to the over-40 crowd. More recently, it has been opened up to anyone wishing to give some racing a try. Racers are then judged on their best time on two runs and awarded based on 10-year age groups. Hence the name, Race of the Decades.

Using Seven Springs' NASTAR Course, a fun and challenging set of dual slalom gates were laid out. Although it was a timed event, the head-to-head racing made everything just a little more exciting.

Race Pic
Heading for the finish
In the race for the fastest overall time, 19 year-old Travis Durfee was not to be denied. Durfee's runs of 18.33 and 18.16 were a second and a half better than any other competitor and were the only times faster than pacesetter, Dave Fullard. Now living in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and attending school at the University of Nevada-Reno, Durfee was back east visiting family. And, if it hadn't been for a little family intervention, he may not of even raced. "My grandmother signed me up," said a smiling Durfee after the the race.

The only other sub-20 second times were recorded by Dane Morris and Ken Dupre in a close battle for second overall. In a true race of the decades, 15 year-old Morris slipped past the 35 year-old Dupre by mere hundreths of a second. His best time of 16.63 was just enough to outdo Dupre's best time of 16.69.

Some more great racing decided the overall best among the women. After their first runs, Brandee Bowen time of 22.33 gave her a precarious 0.03 second advantage over Lisa Draper. Up to the challenge, Draper came back with a second run of 21.98 to which Bowen had no answer. The 39-year-old Draper, a member of the Columbia Ski Club and hailing from Dunkirk, Maryland, credit her success to her past experience as a high school and collegiate ski racer.

Snowboarders, telemarkers, everyone was welcome
Some of the other class winners included Rainy Kennedy (31.76, Women's Snowboard), Jordan O'Reilly (23.40, Men's Snowboard) and Paul Cline (22.60, Men's Telemark).

After all the racing everyone was treated to refreshments at the Matterhorn in the Seven Springs main lodge. With plenty of food and drinks, medals were handed out to all the top finishers along with nice prizes.

All this fun is possible through the hard work of the Western PA Ski Council (WPSC), keep an eye out for more of their great events. A big thanks also goes out to those who helped support their efforts. They include Greg New and Bobbi Woodson with Crown Royal, Michelle Willson with VoiceStream Wireless, Rod Ross with Liquid Speed, and Seven Springs' Special Events Director, Dana Prinkey.