Showcase Showdown organizers wanted to do something a little bit different for the snowboard competition's 20th anniversary.
Bringing in a video-game theme was at the top of mind, as competitors had to complete five levels to pass the game — snake run, euro carve, jump, rails and quarter-pipe.
At the end of the day, Siv Knudsen edged out the adult female win over Megan Hebert and Tena Monahan while on the men's side, Nate Therriault bested Mike Barton and Jordan Phillips. As for the youths, Irie Smith emerged on the women's side over Juliette Pelchat and Marissa Sequiera while Jadyn Chomlack got past Caleb Chomlack and Truth Smith on the men's side.
The adult winners both enjoyed the event's unique format.
"They want to get out of the mainstream, the triple cork and big competitions, so having a lot of little contests like this was the way to see who's the best all around. It showed that clean snowboarding is now about going straight on a jump and then doing a double cork, it's about carving and hitting a snake run and being able to hit a quad," Therriault said.
Therriault, originally from Mont-Tremblant, Que., said he enjoys being able to interact with the next generation of riders on the hill. Therriault operates CSM Whistler, a tuning shop in Function Junction, and has come to know a number of the competitors as a result.
"It was fun. For me, it was all about being with the grom nation and all the kids," he said. "I know all those kids and to me, it's just a big party. Whatever format it is, it's just a matter of being with all those kids and having a good time."
He likened the Showcase Showdown to a day on the hill with some friends where they're just pushing each other to go bigger and higher.
"I don't really show up there thinking I'm going to do this and this, but it's more like I'm riding and it's like riding with some friends. When a friend lands a trick, you're pumped and you want to do the same trick or a bigger trick, it pumps the other person and you're pumping each other to have more fun," Therriault said.
"That's what happened. I was in the zone and I was having a lot of fun."
Therriault also credited his livelihood for setting himself up for success, as he showed up with a board set to do well on the challenging course.
"With carving and snake runs, it's all about having a well-tuned board, so that's a big advantage that I have. I showed up with a perfectly tuned, park-tuned board, and I was super fast and aggressive, so that does help a lot. From there, you go with the flow of the comp. Whatever people do, you need to step up your game a little bit," he said.
Meanwhile, Knudsen also appreciated the interesting way of showing what she can do on her board.
"The concept of the event was brilliant, I loved the fact that there were so many categories to ride. It's hard to pick a favourite but I would say that I really liked the quarter pipe since you don't really get to ride those things too often," Knudsen wrote in an email. "I had so much fun riding that day, the set up was great and it felt good to push my self to do tricks. I just focused on my own riding and didn't really know what to expect end of the day. And the end of the day the only thing that mattered was that I had a great time and I was happy with my own riding."
Knudsen, originally from Finland, is across the pond for her third winter in Canada. While some of the levels were tough to do well on because of some recent snowfall, they were certainly enjoyable to take on.
"As usual, the weather brought an extra challenge to the comp. The snake run had been covered (with) snow during the night before the competition. And with the hard wind, it was a bit sketchy with the speed to the jumps but other than that the conditions were good. The shapers had done a great job building and grooming the set ups," she wrote.
In addition to overall winners, individual event champions were crowned. Jadyn Chomlack was tops for the jump and the carve, Phillips was best on the snake run, Sam Numann conquered the rail and Taylor Duszynski tamed the quarter-pipe.