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Canadians expected to be in contention at snowboard World Cup

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Many of the best snowboarders in the universe will converge on Blackcomb next weekend to compete for prize money, pride, and crucial FIS points, redeemable for a chance at Olympic glory at Salt Lake City in 2002. It’s a triple crown weekend, with giant slalom, halfpipe, and snowboardcross (SBX) events.

Among the Canadian athletes on the roster are halfpipe rider Mike Michalchuk, who is back in action in the halfpipe after being sidelined last season with a torn Achilles tendon. This season he has won a high profile quarterpipe contest in Los Angeles and placed 24 th in the FIS opener at Tignes, France.

Whistler’s Trevor Andrew, originally from Falmouth, Nova Scotia, will also be on hand to compete in the halfpipe. With more than his share of podiums and a big win at the Innsbruck Big Air and Style quarterpipe last season, Andrews in currently ranked 11 th in the International Snowboard Federation (ISF) standings.

Maëlle Ricker, another Whistler rider, won both the World Cup snowboardcross and halfpipe events on Blackcomb last December and is again a serious contender in both categories. Although she has had bad luck with knee injuries due to flat landings in the SBX for the past two seasons, a healthy Ricker is a force to be reckoned with.

Mark Fawcett, one of Canada’s premier snowboard racers, will also be in Whistler to compete in the giant slalom event. Fawcett is known for his aggressive riding style – he’s big, fast and never holds back. That style has cost him a few races, but has also secured his 13 th place ranking in the IFS standings.

All four riders represented Canada at the first Olympic snowboard events in Nagano in 1998, and are just the tip of the talent iceberg that will be drifting into Whistler for the contest.

To draw bigger names, the FIS has bumped up the prize purse for World Cup events this season, and Blackcomb is the largest single stop prize purse of the season – $120,000 in prize money to be divided between the three events.

Schedule

Friday, Dec. 8

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Nokia Snowboard World Cup Snowboardcross

Saturday, Dec. 9

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Halfpipe qualifier

Sunday, Dec. 10

10 a.m. — Halfpipe Finals

Monday, Dec. 11

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Giant Slalom

Volunteers Wanted:

If you want to get closer to the World Cup snowboard competitions, or were planning on being there anyway, organizers are looking for volunteers to fill over 300 shifts during and preceding the event. The list of positions includes gate keepers, side-slippers/rakers and office assistants.

In return for their selfless dedication, volunteers will receive free lift tickets, festival clothing and a great volley party.

To get involved, call the volunteer hotline at 938-4054.

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