Kids pushing the boundaries 

Sports Illustrated for Kids Next Snow Search hosts Whistler super qualifier this weekend

For kids between the ages of nine and 13 in 2005, the Sports Illustrated for Kids Next Snow Search is the equivalent of the X-Games or Gravity Games – most of the top kids from across the U.S. are taking part, and a good result can open a lot of doors for up and coming skiers and snowboarders.

But mostly the event is about kids having fun, which is why the judges also give marks for attitude and sportsmanship in addition to marks for skill and speed.

This weekend marks the second year that Whistler will host a super qualifier for the Next Snow Search finals, which will take place in Killington, Vermont in March. Four of the kids participating will also earn the opportunity to compete at a Next Snow Search All-Stars event at Keystone, Colorado this February.

There are just 80 spots available in the contest, and organizers expect to fill all of them. The cost is $25 per child, and kids who belong to the following programs will get a $5 discount – Whistler Kids Club (Mountain Adventure Program, J4 Racers, Whistler Freeride Club), Blackcomb Freestyle Club, Whistler Mountain Ski Club and Whistler Valley Snowboard Club.

The event gets underway this Saturday, Jan. 14, with a mandatory coach and competitor check-in and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes breakfast at the Rendezvous on Blackcomb Mountain to discuss the contest format and rules. For the rest of the day competitors are encouraged to review the terrain and contest sites in preparation for the main contest on Sunday.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the kids will be split into three groups and will compete in three events – big mountain, slopestyle and snowcross. Afterwards the group will session the Blackcomb halfpipe, but will not be marked on their performance.

At 4 p.m. the competitors will meet again at 18 Below for awards and prizes. The field will also be narrowed down to 10 skiers or snowboarders, who will face off in a big air competition that evening during the weekly Fire and Ice show. Kids can practice jumping from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., after which point their jumps will be judged.

From there the field will be narrowed down to four skiers and boarders, who will represent Whistler at the Next Snow Search finals and All-Stars events.

Registration forms and a copy of the rules are available online at http://whistler.snowmonsters.com

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