The snowboarding component of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival is coming full circle this year: it started out as a pro event, evolved into a locals contest, became a fun-first end-of-year event for riders, and now, years later, it's swung back to pro.
The Shred Show presented by Monster Energy is now in its second year, and confirmed in January that it was officially a five-star TTR World Snowboard Tour event — one step down from events like the Oakley Air and Style and Burton US and European Opens, and on par with events like the Billabong Ante Up, Burton New Zealand Open and Burton Canadian Open.
There are two events in The Shred Show that qualified for sanctioning — the Big Hip competition this Saturday night, April 14 at the base of Whistler Mountain, and the Slopestyle on Monday, April 16 in the Nintendo Terrain Park on Blackcomb. Two other events, the second annual Borderstyle on Sunday and now annual Mogul Duel on Tuesday, still fall squarely into the "fun" category. There are also social events through the entire festival, launching on April 13 with Metal Night with Alcoholica at the GLC and wrapping up at Mix Tape @ Maxx Fish with Flipout! and Pump — eight social events altogether.
The Hip Jump — Saturday, April 14Base of Whistler Mountain at 7:30 p.m.
The highlight of The Shred Show last year was a massive hip jump with a gap in the middle that was built as part of a slopestyle course at the base of Whistler Mountain. Athletes pulled out a full range of tricks over 10 metres off the deck, while clearing a five-plus metre gap between the takeoff and landing. Riders were getting more air than they would get in big air contests.
This year the Hip Jump is the main feature. Expect an even bigger feature and gap for the list of invited riders.
There are 30 men and six alternates on the list, including some of the biggest names in Canada: Antoine Truchon, Maxence Parrot, Matts Kulisek, Whistler Valley Snowboard Club alum Robby Balharry and perennial WSSF champion Craig Beaulieu from the national team, along with local riders like Mark Sollars (Snowboard Athlete of the Year, Pique's Best of Whistler 2011), Jon Versteeg, Andrew Burns and Travis Williams. Out-of-country riders in the mix include Zak Hale, Yale Cousineau and Eric Beauchemin from the U.S., Sami Luhtanen and Ville Paumola of Finland, Mikkel Bang and Kim Rune Hansen of Norway and Will Jackways from New Zealand.
The night gets underway with the elimination round at 7:30 p.m., with the better of two runs counting. The top 10 move into the finals, where the top two of every competitors' three runs are combined to determine the overall winner. The top prize is $15,000, with $6,000 for second and $4,000 for third.