There were plenty of events for local freestyle riders to keep busy with during the holiday season, as Whistler Blackcomb hosted King of the Rail contests and Park Rider Sessions on back-to-back weekends as the calendar flipped to 2014.
Samm Neumann and Judith Leroux got things started by taking home the King and Queen titles, respectively, during the Dec. 28 King of the Rail held at the base of Whistler. Tommi Ollikainen cashed in on the night, picking up $100 for winning the men's snowboard division. Also taking home top honours in snowboard competition were Felix Ferris (youth men), Bailey McDonald (youth women) and Zoe Gounich (women's). Leroux was the female skier to beat, while Cooper Bathgate was the best junior and Miguel Rodder was the top men's competitor.
New rail royalty emerged on Saturday, Jan. 4 when Tom Petrosevics and Mutsui Ido were crowned King and Queen in another edition of King of the Rail competition. Petrosevics and Ido were the top senior snowboarders on the evening. Zakk Harman impressed the judges most among youth snowboarders and Luke Smart (youth), Alex Neilson (women's) and Austin Karker (men's) were the top skiers.
The Park Rider Sessions event held Dec. 29, a U14 slopestyle on Blackcomb, saw Cole Alexander garner the top scores of the day while finishing first in the boys' 11 to 13 age group. Kai Martin was the No. 1 10-and-under skier, while Jadyn Chomlack (boys' 11 to 13), Truth Smith (boys' 10-and-under) and Irie Smith (girls 11 to 13) topped the snowboard categories.
The Park Rider Sessions contest held Sunday, Jan. 5 had no age restrictions and Jackson Bathgate got a special nod from judges for his performance, which left him second in the 14 to 16 boys' ski age group behind Tom Peiffer. Peiffer had the day's top score among all skiers, while Wei Tien Ho (boys' 13-and-under) and Masashi Yoshida (men's) also picked up ski category wins. In snowboard action, Irie Smith (girls' 13-and-under), Devon Stroud (boys' 13-and-under), Zac Shanahan (boys' 14 to 16), Tyler Eames (men's) and Treena Hermansen (women's) were the top riders.
There are no more King of the Rail contests or Park Rider Sessions scheduled for the rest of the month, but the WB events calendar will stay busy with the Kokanee Valley Race Series resuming on Thursday, Jan. 9 and a U14 ski-snowboard cross race planned for Jan. 18 and 19.
PIPE AND PARK OPEN SERIES RETURNS
The North Face Pipe and Park Open Series is returning to Whistler next week with a slopestyle contest in the Nintendo Terrain Park.
The resort is hosting the second of three stops on the series, with qualifiers taking place Tuesday, Jan. 14 and finals set for the following day.
Though the schedule originally called for a halfpipe contest as well, organizers have decided to focus on slope.
"Whistler Blackcomb is looking forward to welcoming some of the best up and coming slopestyle athletes in North America to our award-winning Nintendo Highest Level Terrain Park," said Peter Young, Whistler Blackcomb's event and terrain park manager. "The park is in great shape and our park builders and snowmakers have been taking advantage of recent cold temperatures to create the perfect stage to host this important competition, on the road to the X Games and Olympics."
The competition is a gold-level event on the AFP World Tour calendar. Wednesday's finals will be webcast live at www.thenorthfaceppos.com. The women's final gets underway at 11 a.m. and the men will get going at 1 p.m.
TEST OF METAL SPOTS FILL UP
It took less than 24 hours for the Test of Metal to sell out once again this year, as the notorious Squamish mountain bike race had all its spots on the start line snapped up by riders in a matter of hours after registration opened on Jan. 1.
But if you missed your chance to sign up, race organizers are still offering four-pack registration for the entire Test of Metal series. By registering for a four-pack, riders earn entry into the main race as well as the three other Squamish races in the series — the Orecrusher, Gearjammer and Just Another Bike Race — for 20 per cent off the regular registration fee.
Visit www.testofmetal.com for more information.