Crispin Lipscomb is happy to be home. The 24-year-old Whistler rider spent almost four months this winter criss-crossing the globe with the national snowboard team before returning home in March to win the national title.
Although he has only been competing at the international level for a few years Lipscomb quickly established himself as one of the top-ranked Canadians on the World Cup circuit. In last year’s Ripzone he also proved that he can just as easily be one of the top Canadians on the pro circuit.
The Ripzone event has been good to Lipscomb ever since he turned heads in the qualifier and made the finals back in 2002. Last year he was third overall in the Superpipe, then went on to win the athlete-judged SuperHit award with a huge 1080.
"It’s definitely been a big event for me to really open up, and it’s been big for me professionally. Every year has been a big step up for me. To compare where I was, I’m making big steps every year in following my dream like I’ve been doing," he said.
For all of his success on his home turf, however, Lipscomb is keeping his expectations low for this year’s Ripzone competition.
"I just want to have a good ride and be healthy, I guess," said Lipscomb. "I don’t like to have expectations flying around, because I’m still an underdog out there and that’s my perspective always. I know the boys are coming this year, the top guys, and they’re going to be hard to beat.
"It will be good to have the crowd out there to support us (the Whistler riders) and wish us all luck."
Lipscomb is coming into this weekend after taking almost two weeks off to rehabilitate a twisted ankle, and he knows he can’t take it easy if he wants to do well.
"It’s definitely going to be a day of 1080 (spins), and there will be a few of us doing it, generally trying to link spins together. Tens and nines will definitely be the standard for the top five or six," said Lipscomb.
"Recently in Quebec I made my way to the podium doing criples 9’s (900 spins), so I’ll be putting it all out there, flipping 7’s (720’s), inverted cabs. I’ll change it up and do everything I know.
"I know I just have to put down the best tricks I have, make it look good, and hopefully that’s enough. My coach will be here with me, so he’ll be watching me and pushing me."
Lipscomb likes the Ripzone’s jam format, which allows riders to make as many runs as they can in an hour and a half. On the World Cup circuit he would only get two runs to qualify, and another two runs in the finals – there isn’t a large margin of error, so you generally ride more conservatively.
"I’m really excited to be a little more free, a little more creative, and just go a little bigger on every run. You just have to put your best riding down, and push yourself harder and harder. You also have lots of time to play, try out new tricks, and see what you have."
The key, says Lipscomb, is to show the judges early on that you can ride consistently, get their attention, and keep turning up the intensity.
"The judges are looking for consistency, some big airs that are clean, and really technical runs. If they see you falling seven times in round one they’ll give you a lower score than they would if you were landing every trick all day long, building up and building up to crescendo where you give it everything you’ve got. They know what to look for, they’re pros like us and know what they’re doing."
Lipscomb is from Edmonton originally, and moved to Whistler out of high school to ride. He gets a lot of snow days every season because his season never really ends. When summer rolls around here, you could find Lipscomb coaching the New Zealand junior national team.
This summer he will concentrate more on his own training as he gets ready for next season. 2005 is a qualifier year for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and the 2005 World Championships of snowboarding will be held in Whistler in February.
Getting the best training means getting out of Whistler for the month of May. Lipscomb says he is disappointed by Whistler-Blackcomb’s decision not to build a Superpipe on Whistler Mountain this spring after Blackcomb Mountain closes on April 25.
He has already planned to travel to Garmisch, Germany to train, paying for it out of his own pocket. He will be back in Whistler when the glacier reopens in June, and will head to the New Zealand for a fifth season this August and September.
For the third year in a row the World Cup season opens at Valle Nevado, Chile in early September, and Lipscomb plans to be there. The next World Cup takes place at an indoor pipe in Holland this October.