Before taking a year off, the annual big air event in Whistler used to attract upwards of 10,000 fans to the village to partake in an evening of music, entertainment, and of course big air. This years contest promises to be at least as big and probably even bigger now that organizers have decided to combine ski and snowboard events into one contest.
The Playstation Big Air takes place on Saturday, April 22 at the base of Whistler Mountain, from 7 to 10 p.m.
The field includes 13 skiers and 11 snowboarders, which will be whittled down until just two of each face off in the best of three super final.
The list of snowboarders on deck includes Neil Connolly of Whistler, Reno Belisle of Quebec, Dustin Craven of Calgary, Matt Dano of Quebec, Mikka Hast of Finland, Brad Martin of Ontario, Mike Page of Quebec (formerly of Whistler), Leanne Pelosi of Whistler (the only female border), T.J. Schneider of Calgary, Marc-Andre Tartre of Whistler, and Paavo Tikkanen of Finland.
In the result of an injury there are five stand-by jumpers; Whistlers Justin Lamoureux, Chris Wimbles and Travis Williams, Spencer Forbes of Surrey and Simon Chamberlain of Squamish.
The list of skier invites includes Ontarios Sarah Burke, the only female in field, Rory Bushfield of Calgary, Sammy Carlson of Oregon, Simon Dumont of Maine, Charles Gagnier of Quebec, Tanner Hall of Montana, Andreas Hatveit of Norway, Peter Olenick of Snowmass, Jon Olsson of Sweden, Shinji Osada of Japan, T.J. Schiller of Vernon, Candide Thovex of France and Corey Vanular of Ontario.
The stand-by list includes Josh Bibby of Vernon, J.F. Houle and Alexis Godbout of Quebec, Jossi Wells of New Zealand, Andy Mahre of Washington and Colby West of Vermont.
Saturday afternoon will also see the final of the Salomon Superpipe contest, which follows two days of snowboard and skier qualifiers, and a combined semi-final on Friday.
The qualifier events were wide open, but organizers invited several athletes to compete based on past World Ski and Snowboard Festival results, competition results from the past season, and reputation.
The list of snowboard invitees includes Justin Lamoureux, Crispin Lipscomb and Brad Martin from the national snowboard team, Danny Davis of Michigan, Jan Michaelis of Germany, Takaharu Nakai of Japan, Christoph Schmidt of Germany, Elijah Teter of Vermont and Luke Wynen of California. The stand-by list includes Hugo Lemay of Quebec, Xaver Hoffman of Germany and Dustin Craven and Jed Anderson of Calgary.
The snowboard womens list includes Sarah Conrad, Mercedes Nicoll and Maëlle Ricker from the national team, Vermonts Tricia Byrnes and Australias Torah Bright. The stand-by list includes Soko Yamaoka and Junko Asazuma of Japan, and Dominique Vallée of Squamish.
The list of skier invites includes Loic Collomb-Patton, Laurent Favre and Candide Thovex of France, Vernons Justin Dorey and T.J. Schiller, Maines Simon Dumont, Quebecs Charles Gagnier, Montanas Tanner Hall, Colorados Peter Olenick, and Ontarios Corey Vanular.
The stand-by list includes Bostons Matt Phillippi, Albertas Mike Riddle, Kiwi Jossi Wells, Utahs Andy Woods and Ontarios Scott Hibbert.
The list of women includes Colorados Claudia Bouvier, Ontarios Sarah Burke, Grete Eliassen of Norway, Utahs Jen Hudak, and Marie Martinod of France.
The stand-by list includes Kristi Leskinen of Pennsylvania, Jess Cumming of Connecticut, Squaw Valleys Michelle Parker, Virginie Faivre, and Ashley Saba of Park City.
Fridays semi-final runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the final is on Saturday from 10:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., including the athlete judged SuperHit contest.
Snowboarders and skiers will alternate, and will be judged and awarded separately.
For more information visit www.whistler2006.com.