World Cup Freestyle finds home The Whistler WinterStart Festival could potentially boast seven World cup events in 10 days. World Cup freestyle skiing has now confirmed it will move from its traditional January slot, to open the festival, Dec. 3 to 5 1999. At a recent FIS scheduling meeting in Switzerland all parties agreed to move the dates with no opposition from other host nations. Formal confirmation of this change of date is expected to come after the FIS Freestyle Committee meeting this May. Doug Perry, managing director of WinterStart says everyone involved in the festival sees this as a positive step after Alpine Canada’s decision to move the World Cup downhill and super G to Lake Louise following three years of race cancellations at Whistler. "We’re happy freestyle is joining the fold as it means we can continue to kick off the festival with a world class spectator and TV event. Having freestyle on the opening weekend means we’ll have a very upbeat feel to the festival, with some explosive skiing on the mountain as well as the lively atmosphere in town which always surrounds the freestyle World Cup." Perry feels that freestyle will also complement the World Cup snowboard events, which take place during the second half of the festival, particularly as freestyle skiers are now joining snowboarders in the terrain park. "With new school freestyle skiers taking to the quarterpipe, halfpipe and table tops, having the world’s best freestylers and snowboarders in town at the same time means there is great potential for a hybrid event combining both sports," says Perry. Competition director Tim Gayda agrees there is potential in this new date. "Staging the event in December rather than in high season means we can more easily accommodate the athletes, so we’ll be able to include aerials and possibly acro as well, if that discipline gains Olympic status. We can provide a spectacular show on the mountain and the W5 Foundation puts on a great show in the village." Freestyle World Cups have been staged at Blackcomb for the last nine years, but always in January. Due to a loss of sponsors, last January’s event was the first time aerials and acro haven’t been included in the schedule at Blackcomb. Canadian Freestyle Ski Association Director Tim McIllfaterick said the World Cup freestyle tour is looking strong for next season, after FIS sponsor conflicts this season meant some European events were cancelled.