Organizers have combined the familiar with the new at the 2008 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, bringing back popular events like the big air and superpipe, and introducing new events. Side events like the “If Ullr Was a Girl” contest and World Backcountry Freeride Jam are also a little different.
In total $150,000 in cash and prizes will be on the line for athletes at next month’s festival. Some athletes qualified with their results at last year’s festival — including the top-three in each event — and some were pre-selected through a random draw on March 11.
Missing from the festival lineup this year is the Stompede slopestyle, the second big air contest, and the urban rail jam. New this year is the Orage Masters team event.
The festival runs April 11-20 this year.
Big Air — Apr. 10-12
With categories for both skiers and snowboarders, the village big air gets underway with the qualifiers on April 10, followed by the semi-finals on April 11, and the finals under the lights on Saturday, April 12.
The list of invited skiers in the finals includes Sammy Carlson, Justin Dorey, Sean Field, Charles Gagnier, Matt Haward, JF Houle, Jon Olsson, Tanner Rainville, Mike Riddle, Jossi Wells and Colby West. Nine others will be selected out of 85 athletes to take part in the qualifier.
On the snowboard side, the invite list for the finals includes Matt Belzile, Dave Fortin and Craig Beaulieu. They will face 17 riders selected from a field of 74 qualifiers.
Superpipe — Apr. 14-19
A huge field of riders will contend for the Superpipe title this year, after two days of training (April 14-15), the ski qualifier on April 16, the snowboard qualifier on April 17, the semi-finals on April 18, and the Superpipe and Superhit finals on April 19.
For skiers, the list of men prequalified for the finals includes Mike Riddle, Kevin Rolland and Xavier Bertoni. The semi-finals will feature Justin Dorey, Sean Field, Charles Gagnier, Matt Hayward, Jossi Wells and Colby West, plus another 24 athletes from the 58 taking part in the qualifier.
For the women, the finals will feature Sarah Burke and Jessica Cumming, plus the top eight women out of the 23 taking part in the qualifier.
In snowboarding, the men’s final will include Japanese riders Taka Ishihara, Ryo Aono, and Kazuumi Fujita, plus 17 of the 46 riders from the qualifier.