Two-time Olympian Crispin Lipscomb will be making an appearance at the final Telus Park Rider Sessions event this Sunday, Mar. 11, joining the competition while promoting the sport of halfpipe. He'll be there to share tips with riders, to draw attention to the sport and Whistler Blackcomb's superpipe, and to tune his own skills for the upcoming nationals.
"The main goal is to increase riders and shake up a little more interest in (halfpipe) going into the spring," he said. "This is a great chance to take part in a halfpipe contest where you get to experience what it is... and tune your skills for spring, which is a great time to ride halfpipe."
Lipscomb said that the sport has an aura of danger around it with some well-publicized injuries to top athletes and the death of freeskier Sarah Burke, but he wants everyone to move past that image and embrace the sport as something both fun and safe. His goal is to get young riders back into the pipe and get more athletes and funding into the sport.
At the start of the season Lipscomb was looking to host free halfpipe clinics and sessions, but it was too late to put the pieces in place. However, he's keen to get the ball rolling this season, starting at this weekend's event.
"I'm just excited to get the ball rolling on its own and try to get more excitement and focus on the sport, and put a few minds to rest. It's a safe, fun place, and great place for youth.
"Halfpipe is a big part of snowboarding and snowboard history, so I say get out there and see why the best have always done time in the halfpipe. Even Travis Rice came from that scene — that's what it takes, to be good at everything you have to be good at halfpipe, too."
Lipscomb is also planning to go to nationals at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary next week, where he plans to further take up the cause of snowboarding. This past season the Own the Podium budget for halfpipe was reduced to just $25,000 for the entire season, making it impossible for athletes to train and travel as they have in the past.
"There's no funding, no planning and no situation for halfpipe in Canada," said Lipscomb. "A lot of athletes are still charging on private teams, but there's no structure or focus nationally. I want to be there in Whistler and then go to nationals to gauge the scene, learn what I can and see what we can do to bring halfpipe back from the brink."
In Whistler, he's also hoping to connect with youth that are interested in pursing halfpipe, and provide advice, tips and support. "If someone wants some riding tips or has any questions about the process of getting sponsored, or needs help with their training plan next year, I'm here," said Lipscomb.
"I just want to get across that the halfpipe is in amazing condition," he said. "All the work that Whistler Blackcomb has done in the last couple of years is really paying off, so get in here and let's start playing with it."
Early registration for halfpipe is available online at www.whistlerblackcomb.com or at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations for $29, going up to $35 on the day of the event where registration is open until 9:45 a.m. at the Rendezvous Lodge.
Helmets are mandatory and mouthguards recommended. Minors need a waiver signed by a parent or guardian to take part.
There are prizes for the top skiers and snowboarders in every category, and all participants are eligible to win prizes from event sponsors.
As an Association of Freeskiing Professionals bronze level event, skiers are also eligible to win AFP points, that can be used to gain entry to other AFP contests — including the qualifier for the World Skiing Invitational in Whistler.