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It’s on

Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival lays down the gauntlet

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Athletes who complete all the tests will receive an invitation to the final mission at the Longhorn, which gets underway at 4:30 p.m. Last year it was a poker tournament with a very expensive watch as first prize.

The Dual Slalom moguls take place on Davies Dervish on Blackcomb this year, a steep, bumpy run.

Riders will go head to head and the fastest riders will wait in the hot seat until all the boarders have been through the course before facing off in a head-to-head final. Riders can make as many runs as they want in the two-hour jam, which runs from noon to 2 p.m. The event will wrap up at 3 p.m.

There will be live entertainment for the riders by DJ Vinyl Ritchie, with Monster supplying the energy drinks.

Next up is the Superpipe, which will take place on an Olympic-size course using the Olympic pipe cutter. The event is wide open and the format is an open jam session starting at 11 a.m. After the first jam riders will be tapped to enter the final, and then eliminated one by one until the winner is declared.

The last event is the invite-only Grande Finale at the base of Whistler Mountain. This is basically a short slopestyle course with some unique and bigger than normal features. Athletes can qualify during the other Grenade Games events by showing that they have what it takes.

The practice takes place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by the contest itself from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be cash and prizes for the top athletes.

 

To make things a little more interesting this year, athletes can volunteer to be lab rats as well as action sports stars. During the TWSSF, UBC researcher Cynthia Thompson is conducting a study on whether skiers and riders are genetically predisposed to high-risk, thrill-seeking sports. If athletes agree she will take saliva samples during the competitions, which she will use to determine if there is a genetic imperative. She has taken samples from skiers, snowboarders, BASE jumpers, paragliders, mountain bikers and others. She wants to explore whether adventure-based sports have potential for treating individuals with substance abuse, which is also a high-risk behaviour.

All she needs from athletes is a swab of saliva and answers to a short questionnaire.