The 10 th annual Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival gets underway this weekend with the World Snowboarding Invitational, and wraps up the next weekend with the World Skiing Invitational.
In between youll find all kinds of events, ranging from the World Ski School Championships to the Salomon Urban Rail Session, with a field that includes some of the top skiers and riders from around the world.
World Snowboarding Invitational April 8-10
Theres $50,000 in prize money on the line in the slopestyle and superpipe events, but thats only part of the reason why some of the top riders in the world are coming to Whistler. Changing the big air to a slopestyle was a big draw for athletes according to organizers. On top of that, Whistlers late season conditions in the park and pipe are legendary.
Friday will be a training day for the superpipe, from 10 a.m. to noon and slopestyle, 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. The slopestyle qualifier will take place on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the slopestyle finals and one hit contest from 2 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The superpipe finals will run from 10 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Sunday, followed by a half hour SuperHit contest.
The list of athletes taking part in the slopestyle is almost all-Canadian with one prominent American in the group snowboard royalty Todd Richards. Richards, 35, has been competing since the early days of the sport, and is still pushing the boundaries after almost two decades.
Most of the remaining riders call Whistler home, but some will be making the trip from Calgary, Ontario and Quebec. The list included Dennis Bannock, Neil Connolly, Dustin Craven, Jesse Fox, Etienne Gilbert, Justine Lamoureux, Guillaume Morisset, Mike Page, Jeff Pepperdine, Mikey Rencz, Todd Richards, Benji Ritchie, TJ Schneider, Logan Short, Marc-André Tartre, Aleski Vanninen (Finland), and Travis Williams.
The stand-by list includes Craig Beaulieu, Andrew Hardingham, Rube Goldberg and Brad Martin.
In the womens contest, the American team is pretty tough to beat with Molly Aguirre, Erin Comstock, Janna Meyen, Hannah Teter and Marni Yamada in the hunt. Emily Thomas is representing Australia, and the Canadians are represented by Susi Davis, Spencer OBrien and Marie-France Roy. Leanne Pelosi, one of the top rail riders out there, had to drop out because of other obligations, which opened a spot for stand-bys Molly Milligan and Star of Peace Quinn.
Seven men and three women will also advance to the finals from the mornings slopestyle qualifier.
The list for Sundays halfpipe is as impressive as they come with American riders like Keir Dillon, Rob Kingwill and Elijah and Abe Teter on the invite list. Jan Michealis of Germany and Giacomo Kratter will be representing Europe, Rio Tahara will be representing Japan, and the rest will be representing the Maple Leaf.