Whistlers Crispin Lipscomb knows hes just one good result away from locking up a spot for the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. Although theres a full World Cup schedule ahead to accomplish that, he understands that the FIS Snowboard World Championships in Whistler next month could be his ticket.
The only problem is that every elite snowboarder in the world is thinking exactly the same thing. While the organizers of the World Championships were originally expecting about 400 athletes and officials to take part, that list has grown to about 550 and could be as high as 650 when all is said and done. Its rumoured that some of the top American riders that have avoided FIS events in the past in favour of pro contests will be making an appearance, hoping to land quota spots with top-25 performances and make the U.S. Team in Whistler.
Still, Lipscomb has an advantage on his home turf. Last year he won the title in the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. In 2003 he was third in the event, and won a new snowmobile in the athlete-judged Super Hit contest. That was also the year he started to compete full-time after years coaching the national team in New Zealand.
"Theres a little home turf advantage. Its also nice to be at home, and not have to deal with any hotels or travelling," said Lipscomb, 25. "I just feel comfortable here and in that pipe, I spend so much of my time up there riding it. I can just put my head down, and listen to some of my favourite music, and just let everything out," he said. The new K-PS CD is particularly good when riding, he added.
Having a few supporters on the sidelines also helps, and Lipscomb is hoping to have a good crowd on hand for the World Championships.
"We just want everyone to come out and support us, like what happened at the last Ripzone, where the Canadians had their best results there ever. Its free so everybody should head up to Base II and the new pipe to cheer us on. And if you see one of us on the street, come on over and give us a bit of stoke, get everyone excited," said Lipscomb.
It will be a few weeks before Lipscomb will be seen on Whistler streets. He left on Monday for the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colorado and wont be back until after Christmas. By then the new superpipe at Base II is expected to open, giving him three weeks to train at the facility prior to the World Championships getting underway on Jan. 15.