The 83 skiers and boarders who turned out to the opening King of the Rail contest of the season on Dec. 30 got the rock star treatment with live commentary, music and a crowd of hundreds watching the jam at the base of Whistler Mountain.
The field was almost evenly divided with 39 skiers and 44 snowboarders in the contest, dividing their attention between two features — a flat-down box and a down-flat-down rail. Competitors did every type of jib imaginable, but the biggest tricks were 20-foot gaps onto the rail by a handful of riders that would hike above the start area to get more speed.
The athletes themselves judged the winners in each category, with some input from the head judge and guest judge Craig Bealieu.
The winner in each group received a cash prize, based on the number of entries, and all of the participants were eligible to win draw prizes from event sponsors like Showcase, Burton, Atomic, Nintendo, Telus and DNA. Odds of winning a prize were one in four.
In Ski Male 17 and Over the top vote-getter was Michael Hibbs, who walked away with $100. In Ski Female 17 and Over Amanda Webster earned $15. In Ski Male Youth, Braedon Wheeler earned $20. In Snowboard Male 17 and Over it was Cody Shepherd in first to earn $100. Luke Dutton earned $30 in Snowboard Male Youth.
In the draw, Mitchell Forsythe won the Atomic skis, Guillaume Lemay won the Burton snowboard and Shawn Manning won the Nintendo Wii.
The next King of the Rail event is this Saturday, Jan. 7. The cost is $15 to participate, with registration at Showcase from 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.
There's a mandatory competitor meeting at 6:45 p.m. and the open jam runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the lights at the base of Whistler.
Helmets are mandatory, mouthguards are recommended and minors need a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.
Spectators are welcome, and there's lots of room around the competition area to watch the event.