A few RSVPs are probably still in the mail, but with just over a month left until the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival the competitive field is starting to take shape for the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational.
The Ripzone Invitational kicks off a week of art, music and competition with a superpipe jam contest on April 17-18, including an athlete-judged superhit contest, and the Big Air event at the base of Whistler Mountain on the afternoon of April 17.
The top athletes from the snowboarding world were extended invitations to the competitions which boast a combined prize purse of $55,000. Some wildcard spots are also being held open for the top riders from the superpipe qualifier.
There is $37,000 up for grabs in the Superpipe events, including $5,000 in the athlete-judged superhit contest after the finals. The top five men will receive $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,250 and $750 respectively and the top four women will receive $7,000, $3,500, $1,100 and $400.
The list of invited athletes includes David Carrier-Porcheron, Guy Deschenes, Keir Dillon, Josh Duncan, Steve Fisher, Andrew Hardingham, Danny Kass, Rob Kingwill, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Justin Lamoureux, Crispin Lipscomb, David Melancon, Jan Maichaelis, Daniel Migneault, Guillaume Morisset, Abe Teter, Elijah Teter, and Luke Wynen.
The list of athletes on stand-by includes Hugo Lemay, David Aubry, Dennis Bannock, Brad Martin, Trevor Jennings, Jesse Kumlea, Mike Michalchuk, Kelly Schovanek, Dan Raymond and Rube Goldberg.
The list of prequalified women includes Gretchen Bleiler, Tricia Byrnes, Kelly Clark, Sarah Conrad, Anna Hellman, Avery MacKenzie, Mercedes Nicoll, Maelle Ricker, Hannah Teter, Dominique Vallee and Natasza Zurek. Stand-by competitors include Lesley McKenna, Amanda Mourant, Michelle Ford, Sarah Kopinya and Hanna Lundmark.
Ripzone Big Air
The Big Air event has an $18,000 prize purse this year, and should attract upwards of 10,000 spectators on late Saturday afternoon. This event is open to men only, with prizes starting at $10,000 for first, $5,000 for second, $2,000 for third, $500 for fourth, and $250 for fifth and sixth.
The list of invited jumpers includes Neil Connolly, Josh Feliciano, Andrew Hardingham, Roger Hjelmstadstuen, Lukas Huffman, Tyler Massey, Marc-Frank Montoya, Guillaume Morisset, Eero Niemela, Henki Oedegaard, Mike Osachuk, Ryan Paris, Mikey Rencz, Benji Ritchie, Nate Sheehan, Marc-Andre Tartre, Paavo Tikkanen and Travis Williams.
The standby list includes Chris Dufficy, Daryl Trinidad, Kevin Sansalone, Iikka Backstrom, Dionne Delesalle, Justin Lamoureux, Jon Roth, Kelly Schovanek, Scott Gaffney, Chris Brown, Guy Deschenes, Patrick McCarthy, Nick Gregory, David Melancon and Abe Teter.
All of the athletes invited were selected by a Competition Design Team which included event organizers, industry reps and pro athletes. The group includes Justin Lamoureux, Kevin Sansalone, Maelle Ricker, Tara Teigen, Adrian Millar and Brandon Wong.
Riders not on the list can try to get on it in the qualifier on Friday. You can register online at www.whistler2004.com/registration-forms/snowboard.php.