Every sport has its hardcore following, but skateboarding has always occupied a special place among its enthusiasts as an art, sport and lifestyle rolled into one. Anyone can do it, but you either get it or you don't.
As a paragon of all things hardcore in Whistler, it was inevitable that the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival (TWSSF) would one day add a skateboard competition into the mix. On Friday, April 17 the festival is hosting Skate & Deploy in the underground parking garage of the Telus Whistler Conference Centre. The main contest and jam is by invite only, but there will be opportunities for amateurs to get involved in a few events over the course of the day.
The involvement of skateboard magazine Color was the icing on the cake for organizers putting the event together.
"We have Color Magazine on board, and they're really particular what they put in that magazine and where they put their name," said Lilli Clark, multimedia events producer for the TWSSF. "We said that skateboarding is an area where more attention needs to be given, and we wanted to start something new. For Color to say yeah, they want to work in collaboration to present a brand new event was really flattering for us."
The main street course will be built on the second level of the parkade, while the top section will be kept open for spectators and a skateboard expo. The street obstacles will be provided by Spectrum in Vancouver, the Whistler Skateboard Association, and another park builder named Seb Templer. The centerpiece of the park is an old car, which will also be featured in a best trick contest.
Invites have gone out to pro riders across the West Coast, and as of last week 20 skaters had signed on, including Chris Haslam, Paul Machnau, Dustin Montie, Lee Saunders, Chad Dickson, Alien, Bradley Sheppard, Give'r, Brett Stobbart, Spencer Hamilton, Stacey Gabriel, Adam Hopkins, Joe Buffalo, Brian Wherry, Dustin Locke, Cory Wilson, Paul Trepanier and John Hanlon. The organizers were going to cap the number of entries at 30, but may add others if there is enough interest from established skaters. Registration for individuals and teams is at www.wssf.com/skateanddeploy for $30.
Over the course of the day the judges will have one-off contests on park features, include a Push.ca wall ride competition and the best trick contest off the car that will be open to everybody.
The panel of judges is up to the task, with X Games judge Mike Pangnell on the roster, as well as Color Magazine's Craig Rosvold. Cyrus Thiedeke is the emcee for the event.
It's a full day event, with things getting underway at noon and wrapping up at 6 p.m. before moving on to the Skate of the ART party, with skateboard photography exhibits added to the State of the Art festival party in the foyer of the Telus Whistler Conference Centre.
"Basically there's going to be a big street course, a vendor's area, music, and lots of skating competition all day, jamming on features all day, then the Skate of the Art party where we'll do the awards," said Clark. "It's a whole day dedicated to the art and sport of skateboarding."