Flying Canoe/Comox Valley Nissan Banzai Win 31st Snow to Surf Relay

Snow to Surf Relay

Written by Mike Magee (ISN) – Photos by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

April 29, 2013, CV (ISN) – On Sunday April 28th the beautiful Comox Valley was host to the 31st annual Royal Lepage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race.

Once again it was the team of the “Flying Canoe/Comox Valley Nissan Banzai” crossing the finish line first taking top honors, with the Ski Tak Hut Tsunami hot on their heels, capping off a fine day of athletics and incredible efforts by all the participants.

Some participants came wearing some fun costumes, this Bunny belongs to the team “Just for Fauna” out of Burnaby – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Cross Country Skiers patiently awaiting the arrival of the downhill skiers – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Starting at the top of scenic Mt Washington (-3*C) the Alpine skiers must first run uphill in their boots before they strap the skis on and head back down the hill. At the end of this run the Alpine skiers hand off their bracelet to the Nordic skiers who tackle an 8km cross country course. Before the bracelet leaves the mountain portion of the event it is snow shoed through an approximately 8km long leg of Quad burning terrain.

Phil Schum (down hill skier) from team Kona Hostel sprinting the last leg before passing his band off to the next in his teamPhoto by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Team member of Island Cycle (Parksville) looks on as everyone awaits the arrival of the snow shoe leg of the Snow to Surf – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Next up is the running portion of the event which was gauged at about 8.5km of primarily trail running. Once that is completed the bracelet is passed to the Mountain Bike participant. This is one of the longer legs of the race at 12km but equally as scenic as the rest.

David Anthony Palermo of team Banzai (Courtenay) passes off to Matt Powsey sending him after the 1st and 2nd place teams for that stretch of the racePhoto by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Bill Brett and Ron of team Banzai hitting the ocean approximately 4 min ahead of the following team – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Completing the Mountain Bike portion allows the participants to now hand their bracelets to Kayakers who sit waiting in Comox Lake for the 5km they are about to paddle. They make their way from the Courtenay side of Comox Lake over to the Cumberland side where their Road Bike rider awaits.

Bill Brett of team Banzai ringing the bell signaling the first to finish the Snow to Surf 2013 at 3 hours, 38 minutes and 45 seconds. Over three hours ahead of the last team to finishPhoto by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Ron from team Banzai seen here celebrating their big win – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

The Road Bike rider then travels 30kms into the heart of downtown Courtenay and with his last breath is able to send his canoers on their 5km paddle to the finish line as onlookers and cheer squads await in the Marina which is located in Comox. Once they hit land they must make their way to the finish line and ring the bell signifying the completion of the race.

Don from team Banzai takes a breath after completing his road bike leg of the race – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

Team Ski Tak Hut Tsunami comes in second, 4 minutes and 93 seconds behind team Banzai – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

This year was once again dominated by the Flying Canoe/Comox Valley Nissan Banzai team who completed the trek in 3:38:45 to win the race and the open Men’s division. The North Island Tanks would be the runners up crossing the line with a time of 3:47:10 for 3rd overall and 2nd in the open division.

Team Banzai Sponsored by Comox Valley Nissan and the Flying Canoe celebrating their big win. This team really has proved to be the best of the best – Photo by Lena-marie Pawluk (ISN)

The Has Beens were the victors in the Women’s Open Division posting a time of 4:16:33. Blue Toque Sports were the runners up in this category with a time of 4:31:21.

The Open Mixed Division saw the Waverly Warriors claim top honors with a posting of 3:50:22 and runners up were Steady Betty at 4:26:55.

The Masters Men’s title went to the Ski Tak Hut Tsunami who not only won the Masters Division but placed 2nd overall with a time of 3:43:48. They enjoyed a lead over Tri Kinetics who posted an admirable time of 3:52:03.

In the Masters Women’s it was team ELM (4:30:42) claiming top spot, the Masters Mixed was won by Refried Friends (4:21:55).

A special thanks to Vancouver Island Brewery for hosting the beer gardens, I know in many cases the thought of a frosty beer was the motivating factor in these incredible efforts put for this day.

For full results go to