Showcase Showdown a little bit of old school 

The Showcase Showdown has been through the paces in its long and distinguished history, sticking with a format long enough for riders to master it before moving onto the next thing.

But rather than try something new this year, Showcase Snowboards - celebrating it's 20 th anniversary this season - is mixing it up Saturday with a retro big air and quarterpipe competition, with a wall ride and rails after the quarterpipe to keep things fresh.

"Basically we've come back to an almost Westbeach Classic-style big air with an expression session at the bottom which are the re-entry features - a quarterpipe to a wall ride and rails out at the end," said Brad Broughton, the event director for the Showdown.

The big air will use the bottom table in the highest level terrain park on Blackcomb, which has been built up to almost 70 feet for the contest. There is also a shorter 45 to 50 foot jump for the amateur and female competitors.

As for who's going to be there, the list includes local pro Craig Beaulieu, Jesmond DuBeau, reigning champion Andrew Burns, members of the Showcase team, and some of the top young riders from the area. It's a good bet that the number of pros will also increase closer to the event.

"It's always been about local pros and amateurs looking to make their name," said Broughton. "It was never meant to be a big-name event, it's more or less a chance for locals to throw down, maybe win some money and get a bit of exposure."

The quarterpipe format is always a crowd pleaser - and the organizers will be offering barbecued chili dogs and drinks during the contest. The barbecue is by donation and all the proceeds will go towards Zero Ceiling, a local non-profit that brings underprivileged kids to the mountains to try snowboarding and helps train some candidates to become snowboard instructors.

Graham Turner, the founder of Showcase Snowboards, says that this is the first year that the event has been held on Blackcomb.

"We're really bringing this event back to snowboarding's roots on Blackcomb," he said. "The idea is to celebrate in the park during the day with a cool contest, some hot dogs, some DJs, hand out some big cheques, then move onto the GLC for our 20 th anniversary party."

There is over $5,000 in prize money up for grabs for the top three men and women. All the winners will receive a set of Dakine luggage and a Sandbox helmet. A Samsung LCD television will be awarded for best trick.

The cost is $60 to take part and registration is available in advance at Showcase Snowboards or Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations. The entry fee includes the contest, an event bib, the Vans Waffle Breakfast, a Forum Chili Dog and drink and a ticket to the Showcase VIP party at the GLC hosted by Thirty Two.

Registration is finalized between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, April 2 with a riders meeting at Showcase Snowboards.

Check-in is between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the Vans Waffle Breakfast at Showcase Snowboards. Competitors pick up their bibs on site at the Blackcomb Nintendo Terrain Park, with the competition getting underway after some training. The awards are at 4 p.m., also at Showcase Snowboards.

The after party at the GLC gets underway at 9 p.m. Tickets are required and you need to be 19 or older to take part.



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