Come on down to snowboard glory 

Showcase Showdown slated for Saturday in Blackcomb's terrain park

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ABBY COOPER - Back to shred Jesse Millen is looking to grab a second Showcase Showdown title.
  • Photo by Abby Cooper
  • Back to shred Jesse Millen is looking to grab a second Showcase Showdown title.

The Showcase Showdown is always about the big tricks the big riders can pull off.

But there's a little something for the next generation at the 18th annual edition on March 14.

From 10 to 10:45 a.m., small shredders aged seven to 15 can show their best stuff as part of the rail jam in the Nintendo Terrain Park on Blackcomb Mountain. As well, there will be a riglet zone set up for kids aged two to six near the Whistler ski-out by the Garibaldi Lift Co. (GLC). The contest is free to enter, though parents of entrants must sign a waiver at the GLC between 9 and 10 a.m. on Saturday.

"That is from community feedback. We have a lot of parents who are locals and their kids have grown up shredding," said Showcase Snowboards manager and buyer Deanne Gale. "They've been asking us to have a junior portion of the Showcase Showdown for a few seasons now.

"We had to listen and we had to make it work, so we're really excited to be able to offer that."

Gale explained there would be some prizes for participants, but the opportunity is primarily an opportunity for kids to get out and have some fun.

"They're going to feel like they're very much part of the event," she said. "There's a lot of really great local talent around that's 10 to 14 years old and we really want to support those guys working so hard."

Of course, there will be the big event on Saturday afternoon from 1 to 5 p.m. Showcase-sponsored local rider Jesse Millen, the 2012 champion, will serve as one of the main attractions in the field, expected to number about 60 to 65 in four different divisions: professional and amateur for both men and women.

"(Fans) can expect some amazing talent going off of a 55-foot big air jump," she said. "The riders have the option of going down to a little rail section at the bottom, so there will be some really great variety happening up there in terms of big shredding style."

Though the contest regularly changes its challenge to keep things fresh, there will be one alteration made out of necessity. After two years of taking place at the Whistler base, the contest will move uphill to the terrain park.

"We're moving up to the park this year just so we can have a better jump," Gale said.

The professionals will be competing for a total of $22,000 in prizes, including $10,000 for the men's winner and $2,500 for the women's champ. The top five men will receive prizes, as will the top three women.

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