Olympic medalists among athletes
For years the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival has been luring the top skiers and snowboarders to Whistler in April with the promise of riches, parties, world class contests to compete in, and giant audiences that know a little something about snow sports.
Although some of the events and venues have changed, this year is no exception.
The snowboarders will kick off the WSSF this year instead of wrapping it up, at the inaugural Ripzone Snowboard Invitational. Ripzone is replacing the World Snowboarding Championships, which was held in Vail, Colorado, in February.
The event features Big Air and Superpipe competitions, plus a SuperHit contest in the pipe, with a total of $55,000 in prizes.
The Big Air takes place in Whistler Village at the base of Whistler Mountain on the afternoon of April 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. DJ Seanski, The New Deal and Breaestra will provide the music.
The Superpipe takes place the following day from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Its an open jam format which allows riders to hike the pipe as often as they want to put together their best runs. The Big Hit contest at 1:30 p.m. is one hit out of the side of the pipe, with the winner to be decided by the athletes themselves.
The athletes were decided by an advisory group of riders including Adrian Millar from Ripzone, U.S. halfpipe rider Rob Kingwill, Canadian big air champion Kevin Sansalone, Sean Lake from Burton, and Mark Taylor and Lindsay McWilliam from MASEV Communications.
Olympic gold medallist Ross Powers from the U.S. is on the list, as is Keir Dillon, the winner of last years SuperHit award.
Big Air Invitations Alex Auchu, James Beach, Andrew Crawford, Dionne Delesalle, Guy Deschenes, Jonas Emery, Jesse Fox, Scott Gaffney, Stefan Gimpl, Rube Goldberg, Max Henault, Roger Hjelmstadstuen, Risto Mattila, David Melancon, Mike Page, Mike Rencz, Travis Rice, Todd Richards, Kevin Sansalone, Paavo Tikkanen, Aleksi Vanninen, and Eddie Wall. On deck in case a competitor is injured or pulls out are Josh Chapman, Tadashi Fuse, Daniel Migneault, Eero Niemela, Lukas Huffman, Max Jenke, JF Pelchat, Marc-Andre Tarte, Benji Ritchie, Guillaume Brochu, Risto Scott and Ian Bolden.
Superpipe Invitations, Men Gabriel Authier, James Beach, Therry Brunner, Guy Deschenes, Keir Dillon, Jonas Emery, Andy Finch, Andrew Hardingham, Stefan Karlson, Rob Kingwill, Justin Lamoureux, Risto Mattila, David Melancon, Daniel Migneault, Eero Niemela, Ross Powers, Todd Richards, Aleksi Vanninen, and Ben Wainwright.
The Garnier Fructis World Skiing Invitational will take place the following weekend with another Superpipe Jam event (with an athlete-judged SuperHit competition) and the Orage Big Air in the evening taking the place of the snowboard Big Air event.
Another $50,000 in prize money is up for grabs at the events.
The Superpipe and Superhit will take place on April 20 from noon to 2 p.m. The Big Air will take place that evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at the base of Whistler Mountain.
The athletes list was put together by an advisory team that includes athletes and leaders in the freeskiing industry, including Chris Tamborini of Freeskier Magazine, freeskiing pioneer Mike Douglas, skier and head judge Josh Loubek, judge Glen Mitterndorfer, and Mark Taylor and Lindsay McWilliam of MASEV Communications.
Orage Big Air Invitations Iannick B., Christopher Booth, David Crichton, Vinnie Dorion, Mike Douglas, "Pep" Braden Fujas, Scott Hibbert, Mike Nick, Mauro Nunez, Steele Spence, Matt Sterbenz, Rex Thomas, Chris Turpin, Mike Wilson, Andrew Woods, Candide Thovex, Phil Larose, Phil Belanger, Jon Kozody and Mark Abma.
Superpipe Invitations Anthony Boronowski, David Crichton, Rob De Montigny, Vine Dorion, Scott Hibbert, Jon Kozody, Jon McMurray, Nick Mercon, Philou Poirier, Jon Reedy, Matt Sterbenz, Rex Thomas, Chris Turpin, Oakley White-Allen, Andrew Woods, Candide Thovex, Phil Larose, Phil Belanger, Toben Sutherland and Mark Abma. A Superpipe Qualifier will determine the remaining 10 spots in the finals.
Superpipe Womens Demo Jessica Bennie, Sarah Burke, Candice Drouin, Cat Smiley and Jaime Sundberg.