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Sizing up the competition

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Who’s who in this weekend’s Ripzone Snowboard Invitational

Snowboarders of Whistler, prepare to be humbled.

This year’s Ripzone Snowboard Invitational is shaping up to be a doozy, featuring some of the top riders in Canada and from around the world. At stake are bragging rights, international exposure, and more than $65,000 in cash and prizes in the Big Air, Superpipe, and Jibzone events.

There are still a few open spots in the Superpipe qualifier, but they’re going fast. Visit www.livelarge.ca to register.

The Ripzone Invitational kicks off today, April 11, with training in the Superpipe from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and big air training from 4 to 6 p.m.

The actions gets underway Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. with the Superpipe qualifier, which will run until 1:30 p.m.

The Big Air will take place at the base of Whistler from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., while different bands take to the main stage – A-Team; Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Tajai from Souls of Mischief, Killa Kela and Mat The Alien.

Who are the jumpers in this year’s big air?

Alex Auchu – Auchu rides for Rossignol, lives in Whistler, and goes huge, both regular and switch. He was JF Pelchat’s prodigy back in the day, and in Pelchat’s own words in Transworld Snowboarding, Auchu "is pure comedy. He lives in constant fear of getting beat up, has a crazy junk-food addiction, has more nicknames than anyone else I know, and needs an instruction manual to get through life’s simplest tasks."

David Carrier-Porcheron – DCP rides for Burton, Spy and Hurley, lives in Whistler, and is one of the most respected riders in the country at the age of 22. He also does it all – backcountry, park and pipe – at a very high level, and would compete more if he wasn’t so busy making movies and riding around the backcountry on his sled.

Dionne Delesalle – Delesalle hails from Vancouver, lives in Whistler, and rides for Rossignol. The 25-year-old was featured in four different snowboard movies this year, if that tells you anything, and is a Seymour Kid and member of the infamous Wildcat crew. He is as determined in life as he is on the mountain, successfully juggling university and snowboarding.

Guy Deschenes – Deschenes grew up in Quebec, moved to Whistler in 1996, and recently moved up to Pemberton. In his profile at Treetop Films, Deschenes makes it clear that the only reason you should snowboard is for fun. Oh, and don’t break your board on a handrail if you’re not sponsored.

Josh Feliciano – ‘Fletch’ rides for Sims, Oakley, Furnace and Osiris, and in 2002 won the Sims World Championships and Vans Triple Crown big air contests. He’s 18, hails from Tahoe City, Nevada, and has been hailed as the next snowboard superstar.

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