In his 12 years with Whistler-Blackcomb and past year as a professional terrain park designer, Steve Petrie has pushed, scraped and shaped a lot of snow in his time.
He has designed championship halfpipes, park features used in slopestyle events, and even snowboardcross courses, but never anything like what the staff at Showcase Snowboards came up with to reinvent the Sapient Showcase Showdown.
The event is called Pipestyle and will take place in the lower halfpipe on Blackcomb this weekend. Basically its a superpipe with added features, including hip jumps, step-up jumps, rails, boxes, and wall rides. Riders will be judged by how they make use of the features.
"This is a pretty unique event, a really original concept theyve come up with," said Petrie, who designs terrain parks for his Whistler-based company, Arena Snowparks. "For me, its definitely fun to be the park builder for something like this. Its exciting to be a part of something new like this event, that combines all of the other park disciplines into one."
The challenge is designing a course thats challenging enough for the pro riders, while keeping it safe for amateurs. Petrie plans to test all of the features himself to ensure everything is ready for the qualifier on Friday.
"The top priority is to make it as safe as can be, but still design something that lets the top pros go as big as they want," he said.
Organizers wanted to create an event that draws the top riders from around the world, which is why theres $25,000 in cash prizing for the top riders, as well as $15,000 in prizes from event sponsors. So far so good, with riders like Dionne Delasalle, David Aubry, Justin Lamoureux, Chris Colter, Kurt Wastell, Anthony Leffelaar and Shayne Pospisil already on the list.
You can register in advance at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations, or on the day of the qualifier at Base II on Blackcokmb, 1-2 p.m.
The first qualifying heats take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the Friday. The semi-final heat is on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by a short warm-up before the final jam runs from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The breakdown of mens cash prizes includes $10,000 for the first, $4,000 for second, $2,000 for third, $1,000 for fourth and $500 for fifth. For women, theres $5,000 for first, $2,000 for second and $1,000 for third.
There will be a wrap-up party at Maxx Fish starting at 9:30 p.m. and featuring local band Fall of Summer.