This weekends World Snowboarding Championship is not just another event on the pro snowboard tour with both the competing Federation Internationale de Ski (FIS) and International Snowboard Federation (ISF) tours all wrapped up and the athletes free to go where they choose, the Whistler event is shaping up to be a true world championship.
And with US$260,000 on the line over four event, you can be sure that none of the athletes will be holding anything back in either of the three disciplines showcased: Slopestyle, Superpipe and Big Air. Organizers have also added a Jib Jam, a one hour jam session in the park where the winner is voted on by the riders themselves.
Prize purse: US$75,000 ($45,000 men, $30,000 women)
The list of female athletes competing in the Slopestyle (held April 18 and 19) included last years winner Tara Dakides (California), who is arguably one of the most innovative, nervy, and technically perfect riders in the world right now. Janna Meyen (California) and Jaime MacLeod (New Hampshire), second and third at last years slopestyle with huge grabs and spins, were also be on hand to give Dakides a run for her money. Other riders included Vancouvers Natasza Zurek, Marni Yamada (Washington), Annie Boulanger (Quebec), Jessica Dalpiaz (Utah), Shannon Dunn (Illinois), Kim Bohnsack (New Jersey), and Roberta Rodger (Vancouver). There were 10 women in the contest, plus another eight on the stand-by list.
The mens list was also long and distinguished, with 24 riders and nine stand-bys.
Jussi Oksanen of Finland was back to defend his title. Kevin Jones (California), second in last years contest, was back, as was third place finisher Jacob Soderqvist (Sweden). Whistler was well-represented with Chris Brown, who grew up here, Quebec transplant David Carrier-Porcheron, and Kevin Sansalone. Vancouver rider Scott Risto was also competing.
Other big name riders included Travis Parker, Todd Richards, JP Walker, Jason Borgstede, Jeremy Jones, Erik Leines, BJ Leines, Chad Otterstrom, Shaun White, J.F. Pelchat, and Josh Dirksen.
Prize Purse: US$75,000 ($45K men, $30K women)
Last years World Championship Superpipe was one of the first contests to use the new superpipe format, with 18-foot walls and room to set up. Judging by the tricks that the competitors were puling out, it was a huge success.
Superpipe contests have since become the norm, and competitors are starting to feel right at home. This years contest, with the qualifier on April 20, and the finals on April 21, could go even bigger than last year.
Trevor Andrew and Quebec transplant Guillaume Morisset were the only Whistler resident to get a bye into the finals, but the qualifier list is thick with locals, including David Carrier-Porcheron, Mike Rencz, Daniel Migneault, Guy Deschenes, David Melancon, and Jesse Fulton. Andrew Hardingham and David Aubry made the stand-by list.