The Showcase Showdown likes to mix up formats every few years and in the last decade or so they've had halfpipe, quarterpipe, modified halfpipe "pipestyle," slopestyle, modified slopestyle and backyard jam formats for the contest. This year's event on Mar. 2 is a big air competition, dubbed the "Night of the Living Shred." Burton is the main sponsor.
Deanne Gale, who's coordinating the event, said the format change was based on what riders are seeing in the terrain park these days.
"We wanted to take advantage of what we see up in the park, which these days is people throwing down pretty hard on the big booters," she said. "We haven't done a big air and style for a long time, we've tried to offer a different format ever season or two and switch things up, and we thought the big air would make our snowboarder community really happy, and our spectators as well — the base of the mountain is the perfect place for this."
The jump itself will be about 55 feet or 18 metres, and will be custom-built for snowboarders.
The qualifiers will take place during the day starting at 2 p.m. with a two-hour jam session where riders get as many runs in as they can. Judges will narrow down the field for the finals, which will run from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the base of Whistler Mountain with an elimination format. The last riders standing will win the cash and prizes.
Over $5,000 in cash and prizes is up for grabs and anyone can take part — although spots are limited and there's a chance the event could sell out. The top men's finisher will pocket $2,500, with the runner-up winning $1,000. The top two female riders will win $1,500 and $500. There's also a prize for the best zombie outfit.
Entry fee is $60, plus HST, and registration is available online, in person at Showcase Whistler or Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations, or by calling 1-800-766-0449. There's no minimum age, but the after-party at Merlin's is for 19 and older.