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The Devil's Half-Dozen: Dave Murray Downhill Whistler, B.C.

The Devil's Half-Dozen: Dave Murray Downhill Whistler, B.C.

Features
By Stu Campbell
posted: 02/02/2004

It drops more than 3,300 vertical feet in just over a mile and a half. Dave Murray Downhill is the second longest downhill in the world and will be the site for the 2010 Olympic course. Rated a black-diamond, it's a fast Autobahn, not a twisty country road. "Dave Murray is a classic downhill with traditional values," says Canadian downhiller and former World Cup champion Todd Brooker. "Long winding turns, rolling terrain, big air, and if you let 'em go, big-time speed!"

1. How to ski it: Put yourself on confident autopilot at the top. It's a straight shot at first, over a pair of rollers known as Double Trouble. Generate as much speed as you like, be aerodynamic, and keep your skis on the snow. Next, make sweeping super G arcs to slow down as the trail narrows into Toilet Bowl-named for its drain-like quality. Stay low and carve clean turns.

2. Next, you'll enter the dreaded Weasel-a huge sweeper to the right. Then it's straight down the fall line on a 45-degree pitch. A big roller halfway down can send you flying, but there's a safe run-out at the bottom of the pitch. Then you cross the busy Expressway. Look for traffic-like an instructor with a train of students following. Slow down. A blind turn takes you into Fall Away. Lose it here and you'll end up in the woods.

3. You'll pass through Sewer and pick up a lot of speed on your way to Coaches Corner, a steep, straight pitch followed by a sharp right turn. Racers reach speeds of 70-80 mph here. Don't stay in a tuck, because the turn comes up quickly. Skiers tend to stand up here to scope out the next turn? and admire the view.

4. Roy's Turn, to the left, has an ever-tightening radius and leads into a fall-away sidehill. Hold your edge and get lined up for Hot Air, a long, well-designed floater jump. You'll feel airborne forever. Don't come in at an angle or get twisted in the air or you'll crash. Then it's a straight tuck to the finish. Your legs will feel like rubber, guaranteed. If your stamina is good, go up again and try to ski it faster.

The Gear
When it's groomed all the way to the Creekside base, you can dust off the long boards-GS or super G-and let 'em rip. Wear a helmet, goggles with a fresh lens and a tight jacket that won't catch the wind. If you're slow, you'd better have a rear-view mirror. People will pass you, so get way off to the side when you stop.

The Prep
Study the run as if inspecting a downhill course. World Cuppers race it in just over two minutes. Know where the rolls and bumps are, where traffic might be and where you can let your skis run. During competition there are surprisingly few control gates. What you see is what you get.

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