The team is comprised of a mix of active and retired athletes with a mix of competitive and freeriding experience, from representing Canada at the Olympics to landing cliff drops in the latest video and magazine shoots. Its a tough job picking the team with the selection of athletes in Whistler, but they went with a mix that Whistler-Blackcomb felt represented everything the local mountains had to offer, from big mountain freeriding, to racing, to terrain parks and pipes.
The ski team includes:
Mike Douglas, a freeskiing pioneer who is known for both big mountain skiing and inventing new school tricks in the park;
Aleisha Cline, the most dominant force in womens skiercross in the history of the sport with four X-Games gold medals and wins in every other pro event on the circuit;
Mark Abma, a young skier from Langley who has top-10 finishes in the X-Games and World Skiing Invitational, and is becoming a regular in films and magazines;
Hugo Harrison is a two-time World Freeskiing Champion who has made the jump into movie productions with his fearless, straight-ahead style;
Chris Turpin has climbed his way up from local contests to the world stage, and has a halfpipe run where he lands switch after every trick;
Britt Janyk is one of the top alpine racers in the country, and is working her way further up the World Cup ladder every year.
The snowboard team includes:
Gaetan Chanut, an all-around snowboarder who divides his time between the terrain park and the backcountry, has been featured in movies and magazines and has a snowboard model named after him;
J.F. Pelchat, one of the most influential Canadian riders in recent years, with dozens of video and magazine appearances, a starring role with the local Wildcats crew, and a series of boards named after him;
Victoria Jealouse, a longstanding member of the Burton pro team, a regular performer in team videos, and easily one of the top big mountain riders in the world, male or female;
Mäelle Ricker, one of Canadas top World Cup and Olympic prospects in both womens halfpipe and snowboard cross events;
Shin Campos, a local backcountry rider who is becoming famous for his creative lines;
Kevin Sansalone, Seymour Kid, founding member of the Wildcats crew, and a terrain park specialist who is making the transition from pro competitor with a win at the X-Games to filmmaker.
Being on the team has its advantages, says Abma. For one, you get to help design and build new stunts in the terrain park, "and you get to be the first to try them out," he said. "You also get to use stuff around the mountains for filming, and (Whistler-Blackcomb) gives you a lot of support."
Abma says hes getting away from the competition side of freeskiing, and more into filming. Still, he says hed like to continue riding contests at home, like the World Skiing Invitational.
He sees his job as a member of the Pro Team as spreading the word about Whistler, something he is more than happy to do. "Basically I travel around, skiing and spread the word on Whistler, which is a place I love and enjoy telling people about."
Abma is currently at Mammoth, California doing some film work, but says hell be on a plane home the minute he hears its dumping at Whistler.
Whistler-Blackcomb also has a Legends team comprised of former pros and ski racers that is still to be announced.
All members of the Pro Team get free staff passes for the season, and some sponsorship money to help cover their costs. They also wear the Whistler-Blackcomb Swoosh logo, and do their best to represent the local mountains.