Canada and the US Dominate at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival

The World Ski and Snowboard Festival took place between 11-20th April in Whistler, one of the host cities for the Winter Olympics in 2010. The free festival saw the world of snow sports, music and art come together to make one of the biggest end-of-season festivals in North America.

WSSF at Whistler

The slopes of Whistler [Photo Credit: Cat Hughes].

The first weekend saw the snowboarders showing off their skills in the Shred Show. The bluebird sky and warm temperatures drew the crowds to the slopestyle and big air events. Canada and the USA dominated both events. In the Big Air Max, Eberhardt (CAN) took home the top prize of $15,000. Second went to USA’s Kyle Mack, and third went to Justin Morgan, also from the US.

Mack made it to the top of the leader board for the slopestyle with a score of 86.50. Snapping at his heals was Canadian Sebastien Toutant, with a score of 85.22. Third place went to another Canadian, Matts Kulisek.

On Monday April 14th, a slew of local boarders went to battle it out at the boarderstyle competition. Boarderstyle is set on a boardercross course with slopestyle features and mandatory tricks. Four Whistler lads made it to the final starting pens, with Rube Goldberg crossing the finish line in what was a heart-stopping race.

Saturday was the big party day for the seasonaires, as they donned costumes to celebrate the end of the season. Superheroes seemed to be the theme of the day, with Spider-Men, Captain America, Banana Men and Supermen/women tearing up the slopes, their capes billowing in the wind.

Super heroes at WSSF Whistler

Super heroes take to the slopes in Whistler [Photo credit: Cat Hughes].

Each day saw live bands playing during après with locals and tourists alike dancing away – at least on the dry days. With it being the Easter holidays in the UK, the bars seemed full of Brits getting their last bit of riding in for the season. The only thing missing was a platform for female snowboarders to show the wider world what they have.

During the Easter weekend the World Ski Invitational took place and James “Woodsy” Woods was the only one who received an invitation from Team GB.

The slopestyle finals were marred by a stubborn fog that refused to budge. In a rare break in the cloud, the women managed to sneak in for a two-run final. The all-Canadian podium saw Nikki Blackall dominate the score board with 77.67. Anouk Purnelle-Faniel took second place with 67.67, and Cassie Sharpe came in third with 57.50.

The men were not so lucky – after almost five hours of hanging round on Blackcomb Mountain they did not ride a final run. Instead their semi-finals scores, which they ran earlier in the day, determined the winner.

Canadian Evan McEachran, who is only 17-years-old, came in first with a score of 87.17, American Bobby Brown took second place with a score of 84.67 and in third place Jossi Wells – whose brother Beau-James Wells has been ranked second in the AFP overall rankings for the 2013/2014 season. Woodsy managed to make it to seventh and was disappointed that he did not get to drop in for a final run. He stands at 24th on the AFP overall rankings, 30 places up from last year. He is the only British man in the top 100.

In action at the WSSF Whistler

Skier in action at the WSSF, Whistler [Photo credit: Cat Hughes].

The WSI Big air event drew large crowds at Skiers Plaza, as 22 athletes, including Woodsy, performed some impressive tricks. Bobby Brown took another spot at the podium, putting him in second place with a score of 89.00. The winner was Jesper Tjader from Sweden, with a high score of 90.00. Third place went to Canadian Vincent Gagnier. Woodsy came in fifth with a score of 83.60.

About the author: Cat Hughes is a freelance writer. She is the editor, and co-founder of Sea to Sky Lifestyle Magazine – an online publication for women who love the outdoors and extreme sports. Check them out at www.seatoskylifestyle.net

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