The Royal LePage Snow to Surf is not just a race. Since 1982, this iconic multisport extravaganza has encouraged participation and healthy lifestyles through experiencing the great outdoors. Sparked from a passion for activity and for sharing the stunning scenery of the Comox Valley, the dedication of our members has established this event as a deep-rooted community occasion.
39 years running, it has not only become an exhilarating and unforgettable race, but a monumental community-building celebration that brings together hundreds of volunteers and spectators of all ages!
The first edition of what is now the Royal Lepage Snow To Surf Race was run in 1982 with 48 6-member teams. The event, originally a program of the Comox Recreation Commission, has been run by The Comox Valley Snow to Surf Society volunteer Race Bosses for over 30 years. In that time period, in addition to the original Alpine, Nordic, Running, Cycling, and Canoeing Legs, Mountain Biking, and Kayaking have been added as these grew in popularity.
The race starts near the summit of the Mount Washington Alpine Resort with an uphill LeMans-style start in order to avoid the mammoth cluster that a mass downhill alpine start would deliver.
Race transitions then follow in this order.:
- Nordic skiing over a route that varies yearly with spring snow conditions.
- Two Running legs combining the Strathcona Parkway with a downhill trail.
- A cross country Mountain Bike leg from the base of the Parkway to the Fish and Game Club on the shore of Comox Lake.
- Paddlers on the Kayak leg round a set of buoys to finish at the Cumberland Lake Park Campground.
- Road cyclists follow a route through historic Cumberland to Highway 19A then South to a turnaround through the seaside Craigdarroch suburb and North to the entry to the City of Courtenay where they dismount and are met by paddlers for the final leg.
- Canoeists then race on one of the world’s shortest navigable rivers and across an estuary to the Comox Marina and the Finish Bell that signals the end of the struggle and awaiting refreshment.
Support for the race has come from a broad cross-section of the Comox Valley. The race is unique in offering a celebration of the change of season and the opportunity to both recreational and elite athletes from different disciplines to merge.
Generous use of equipment from 19 Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force has contributed to the excellent safety record of the event, as has the presence of the local Search and Rescue Organization, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Comox Valley Cycle Club, the Ministry of Transportation and the RCMP.
Above all the event owes its existence to the unfailing support of the Mount Washington Alpine Resort whose generosity in providing a venue and grooming of the Alpine and Nordic legs cannot be overstated.
The Race Bosses work year-round to ensure that the high standards of the event are maintained as the race grows and the flood of volunteers who man transitions, provide enroute safety, maintain accurate results, and voice support to the competitors as they pass, are key to each successful presentation of Canada’s Oldest, Biggest and Best Multi-Sport Relay.