Showdown this weekend 

As usual, the Wu-Tang Clan said it best; "Sunup to sundown, ready for a showdown. Whoever wanna throw down, the gangsters better slow down."

That’s what you’re in for this weekend when the top snowboarders in the valley go head to head in the annual Showcase Showdown quarterpipe contest, the last big gathering of the snowboard season.

Last year more than 90 riders turned up to hit the huge quarterpipe and earn their share of a huge prize purse. It rained at the end of the day, but not before Charles Perrault of Quebec took first place in the men’s pro contest and $2,000. He was followed by Dylan Butt of New Zealand and Banff’s Justin Lamoureux. All three should be back this year, as well as a strong core of local pro riders.

In the women’s contest, Local Kristi Yzerman finished third behind two strong Japanese riders, Iwabuchi Chiyoko and Michiyo Hashimoto. Yzerman should be back, and could have her hands full with the likes of Whistler Valley Snowboard Club rider Sarah Kopinya.

The WVSC will enter at least a dozen riders in the various age and skill categories, says club president and coach Rob Picard.

"In the past we’ve done really well. A lot of pros turn out to this contest, but we always have a few kids who do well, give the top guys a run for their money or are strong in their category. Guys like Tim Orr, Tyler Massey, Vinny Ligeti. In the girls’ watch for Sarah Kopinya to go pretty big."

Going big wins quarterpipes, says Picard. Good tricks are important but if you don’t put enough air between you and the crowd, you’re probably not going to win.

Although there aren’t a lot of opportunities to practise the quarterpipe, there will be a training and qualification day on Saturday, May 18, that will give the athletes a chance to find their legs.

Each athlete gets three or four practices, depending on their category, and two judged runs. The top 50 per cent from each category will move on to the semi finals.

On Sunday, the riders will have a practice session in the morning with another two judged runs, after which the top 25 per cent of riders will move on to the finals. In the finals, every competitor gets two judged runs, and the best one counts.

There are both pro and amateur categories for adults, plus categories for juniors and juveniles.

There will be cash prizes for the top three pros this year, plus cash for the biggest hit on Saturday. In addition to the cash, the top riders in the amateur categories will receive boards, bindings, boots, outerwear and shoes. Everyone else is eligible for giveaways and draw prizes.

Pre-register at Showcase Snowboards prior to the competition. Entry is limited to 110 riders and helmets are mandatory. The cost is $90 for pros and $55 for amateurs.

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