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World Cup snowboarding makes the ‘Scene

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The Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup is returning to Whistler this December as part of the larger SnowScene festival.

The event will run over four days, Dec. 11 to 14, with World Cup snowboard cross, giant slalom and halfpipe competitions, as well as a variety of events in the village and a pair of major concerts at the Telus Conference Centre at Whistler.

Last year’s World Cup was a challenge for organizers and athletes alike as a late start to the season and temperatures too warm for snowmaking resulted in the cancellation of World Cup snowboard cross and big air events, and the replacement of the parallel giant slalom with a parallel slalom.

This season, with Environment Canada predicting an early winter for the Coast Mountains, organizers are confident that the event will live up to expectations.

"Early weather reports are predicting that Whistler-Blackcomb will have some of the best early season conditions in North America, making great conditions for both the riders and the fans," says Mark Taylor of event properties at MASEV.

"We are thrilled to be back at North America’s number one resort for our eighth consecutive year."

The events get underway on Thursday, Dec. 11 with the snowboard cross. The Nissan parallel giant slalom will run on Friday, and the halfpipe on Saturday.

The event will attract some of the top snowboarders in the world, representing more than 20 nations. The early international list includes Takaharu Nakai and Domu Narita of Japan, Markku Koski of Finland, Karine Ruby and Mattheu Bozzetto of France, and Austria’s Maria Pichler.

The Canadian team will be out in force at home, with Whistler riders Mike Michalchuk, Crispin Lipscomb, Lori Glazier and Maelle Ricker leading the way. Also watch out for Mercedes Nicoll and Sarah Kopinya.

Other Canadians to watch for are three-time world champion Jasey Jay Anderson, Drew Neilson, Jerome Sylvestre, Alexa Loo, Natasza Zurek Dominique Valee, and others.

This is the last snowboard World Cup event Whistler will host until the 2005 FIS Snowboard World Championships take place from Jan. 22 to 30, 2005.

For more information on SnowScene visit the official Web site, active on Oct. 10, at www.snowscene.ca.

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