Last weekend a group of Whistler snowboarders, including members of the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club, wet their feet in FIS halfpipe competition at Cypress Ski Resort. Some went to earn FIS points that could one day put them onto the World Cup circuit. Many more went for the experience.
"A lot of our guys are still developing and at the club we dont want to put too much emphasis on contests," says WVSC director Rob Picard.
"A lot of kids are getting into competition too early, and not learning enough of the basics, like the jumps and how to use your edges to get speed in the pipe. Wed like our competitors to make their runs, learn from it instead of being upset over how they finished."
Not that there was much to be upset about. Club member Tyler Quarles, 16, finished in fourth place overall with two solid runs. His teammates Jeff Waters, 18, and Tyler Massey, 16, were eighth and ninth in a field that included competitors from the development team, and athletes from as far away as Quebec. The top spot also went to Whistlers Crispin Lipscomb, who is not affiliated with the club.
In the womens contest, WVSC alumni Mercedes Nicoll finished in second place overall representing the national development team. Local national team member Stacey Burke was seventh, and WVSC rider Sarah Kopinya was 10th.
"She really went for it," says Picard. "She crashed in both of her runs. She went for the backflip right away, and she kept that clean until the pipe got soft and she lost her edging. They still put her in 10th because she was really going for the difficult moves, and probably would have landed them if the pipe hadnt softened up."
The club will be going to the provincial snowboard championships next weekend to compete in halfpipe, snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom events. The goal is to qualify athletes for the nationals at Mont Tremblant in the third weekend of March.