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Locations are still to be announced, but the schedule calls for a rail jam on Dec. 13, a slopestyle on Dec. 27, a slopestyle on Jan. 17, an event to be decided on March 21 and another slopestyle on April 11.
As always the events are open to skiers and riders of all ages. The cost is $26 per event at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations, going up to $30 if you sign up on event day.
Helmets are mandatory and other forms of protection are encouraged. Minors also require a waiver signed by a parent or guardian to take part.
Theses events are extremely popular and early registration is recommended, especially in the younger age categories that tend to fill up. For skiers and riders it's a chance to be judged by professional contest judges and to compare their skills and progression against other local skiers and riders. Several pro riders got their start through these contests, including some of the current members of the national freestyle snowboard team.
King of the Rail
Of all events the Olympics have taken the biggest bite out of the King of the Rail, with just two contests on the calendar this year. The reason, according to Webster, is that the King of the Rail events take place in the evening and can impact daily operations before and after the contests at a time when a lot of those resources - groomers, park crews -will be needed on the mountains.
The first event is a pre-New Year's bash on the evening of Dec. 30. It will be followed by an event on Jan. 16. And that's it for the rail jams.
The entry fee is $15 per event, with registration at the bottom of the Magic Chair after 5 p.m. on competition day. The competition runs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at which point the athletes themselves vote for the winners in each category after sessioning the rails for an hour and a half. A share of the prize purse goes to the top skiers and riders, and all participants are eligible to win draw prizes donated by sponsors like Telus, Nintendo, Atomic, DNA, Showcase Snowboards and the Glacier Shop.
The turnout is usually good - over 100 skiers and riders - and probably twice as many spectators turn out to listen to music, cheer on friends and enjoy some really good jibbing. Fun for the whole family.