written by Janet Lightner, General Manager of Boundary Bay Brewery
We started the competitive womens team on a suggestion from Brian Boatman of Beavers Tree Service. He thought it would be interesting to put together a top notch women’s Ski to Sea team. Brian had a core group of women in mind including Debbie Chadwick a paddler from Prince George who continues to race for us! With 6 of the 8 positions filled I just needed to find the 2 and we would have our first competive women’s team. Easy enough eh?
The search began for a cross country skier and a kayaker. Many hours were logged comparing times, figuring out the style of boat and the type of skier we needed. What was a surf ski anyway? I had a lot of learning to do. I figured to go big and locate athletes training in Olympic training centers. What did I have to lose? oh yea the race…
It took many weeks and the race day was closing in. I found Barb Jones a member of the US XC Ski Team training in Bend and she agreed to do the race, but I still needed a kayaker to bring us home! My search continued with dozens of phone calls to racing centers up and down the West Coast, and then I found Leanne Wood. She had been traing at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista California and just happened to be visiting her family in Seattle for Memorial Weekend. She would do the race! Now I just had to find her a racing surfski as her kayak was in CA. and this was Friday night and the race was on Sunday. I used the terrific network of Boundary Bay fans and was able to secure a boat for Leanne. whew! It seemed like I was all ready in a race!
Back in 2000 I was still really hands on in the kitchens at Boundary. I remember meeting the althetes as they arrived with an apron on and flour on my hands and face. I warmly welcomed each and we instantly connected. I had been communicating with all 8 of them on the phone and through email, but it was so exciting to have them gather together and introduce them to each other. The first Boundary Bay Womens Team was born of determination, networking, and a little luck.
It has been such a thrill for me to meet these talented hard working women. Their dedication to their health, fitness and their individual sports is an inspiration for me. Their energy is contagious and we feed off of one another over the weekend. It is an honor to have them be a part of Boundary Bay even if it is just for a couple of days. They feel like my family and I have a special connection with them.