By Andrew Mitchell
There are several good reasons why this weekend’s Showcase Showdown Pipestyle is one of the coolest events on the mountains this year.
It’s spectator friendly, with views of the contest from the top to the bottom of the world championship halfpipe at Base II. It rewards the well-rounded riders who ride a little of everything, from tables to rails to halfpipe, rather than focusing on one event. It also puts the athletes on an even playing field — as the only pipestyle in the world, specially built just days before the contest, all the riders get roughly the same amount of training time.
The Showdown is also something of a local legend, drawing all the top locals into the spotlight that don’t usually enter contests, as well as young riders from just about everywhere that are looking to prove themselves. And as events ago, the announcers are as entertaining as they are knowledgeable.
If you missed the first run of the pipestyle last year, it’s basically a halfpipe with elements of park riding thrown in.
This year’s course will be slightly different. The first hit will be the hip jumps built up top of the course, followed by the wall of the halfpipe on the opposite side. This year the riders will have the option to grind the c-boxes embedded into the sides of the pipe, and maybe squeeze in one more wall before tackling the gaps and rails at the bottom.
This year the total prize purse is $25,000, with $10,000 for the top male and $5,000 for the top female. The event was sold out at press time, with 80 men and 20 women, but there is still a chance to get on the waitlist by contacting Christa Vandeberg at 604-905-2032.
Spectators are welcome for Friday’s qualifier, which runs from 4 to 8:30 p.m., and for the next round of qualifying from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the finals at 7:30 p.m.
There will be an after party at the Longhorn following the awards, featuring Fall of Summer. Organizers are asking spectators to save their partying until after the contest, and remind them that alcohol is not permitted in or around the contest venue.
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