The first and hopefully the first annual World Freestyle Snowmobile Association big air contest in the history of Whistler, didnt go off as planned on April 17, but it did "go off".
After a weekend of sunshine, a front moved in and carpeted the Brandywine Valley with almost 30 centimetres of new snow. While this is usually a good thing, it also brought high winds and low visibility to the area, which effectively ruined any chance of using helicopter support.
As a result, it took a little longer to set up the Pro Bowl event than organizers had counted on almost five hours longer. A lot of the pros didnt make it, and due to injuries and mechanical problems, a lot of locals pulled out.
The crowd of 200 stayed warm by carving and high-marking in the new powder, and by the time the contest went off at 4 p.m., people were ready to see something spectacular. They werent disappointed.
"We had an 80 foot long table top, and even that wasnt long enough because competitors kept clearing the landings," said event organizer and originator Linda Stang, who put the Pro Bowl together for Showcase Snowboards, The Circle, Vision Motor Sports, Canadian Snowmobile Adventures, Nitro, Spy, No Limits and all of the other sponsors.
Jay Fentiman rode away with the title after wowing the crowd with impossible heel clickers, superman jumps and one-handed superman jumps. Pro snowboarder Chris Dimma was second with a few superman jumps of his own, and B.J. Murray was third with the biggest air of the day.
"Theres not much you can do about the weather, but the event went well and most people came away from the event stoked for next year," said Stang. "I have to thank all of the locals who turned up for being so backcountry friendly. Everybody cleaned up after themselves and respected the area, so I was so glad to see that. When we left, it was like we were never there."
Hosting the big air contest on Crown land meant getting the approval of B.C. Assets and Lands, something that Stang says wouldnt have been possible without the full co-operation and support of all local snowmobile tour operators and Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton snowmobile clubs.