Snowboard team ready to take on the world in 2005 

The holidays are done but the real fun for the snowboard team has just begun.

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The season is in full swing and the biggest event is approaching quickly. All the riders went home for a week’s rest to spend time with their families and get some much needed freeriding done before the craziness starts.

I managed to get up Blackcomb with my brother for some fun powder runs. I love riding with him. We used to shred all the time but now I have a hard time convincing him to get out of the backcountry and onto the ski hill… understandably. On one of our laps of Glacier Express I stopped to read the information sign. I read about the weather conditions and the runs of the day. Then below that was another sign stating that there were only 17 days until the World Championships! My heart skipped a beat and a huge lump formed in my throat. Wow! Time is flying by.

The rest of the championship team has been announced. The men’s halfpipe team is filled with Whistler residents. Justin Lamoureux, Dan Raymond, and Crispin Lipscomb are all competing, along with Quebec’s Hugo Lemay. The women’s team has a bunch of Whistlerites as well – Mercedes Nicoll, Dominique Vallee, and myself are on the roster, with Sarah Conrad of Nova Scotia taking the forth spot.

The leader of the big air team will be Whistler’s Neil Connelly. He and Ontario’s Brad Martin will be throwing down some huge tricks on Friday night, Jan. 21. There is no women’s big air competition.

The alpine squad is ready to kill it with a number of national team members leading the pack including Jasey-Jay Anderson, Phil Berube, Aimee Newton, and Alexa Loo.

The FIS officials came into town to do a snow check for the event. This means they came up on the hill to see if Blackcomb has enough snow to build the halfpipe and race courses. I heard officials were very happy with snow check and how everything has progressed thus far. I can’t imagine how little snow Europe must have for them to be pleased with what we have here! Luckily this cold spell has offered ideal snowmaking conditions on the halfpipe and snowboardcross course sites.

Everybody is ready to go for the World Championships. Team members have prepared themselves well over the fall and the level of riding is incredible. The one thing we need to have is a crowd to pump us up. Hint hint!

I hope everyone gets a chance to come up and check us out. All the events finish at Base II on Blackcomb, right next to the water ramps. You can easily walk up to all of the events. There will also be live music, giveaways, and demo booths set up. And the best part about it all… it’s free!

Before the big event we will be getting some last minute riding done. There are two pipe contests in different places this weekend. Needless to say, there has been some controversy over who should attend which event.

There is a Nor Am at Mont Avilla in Quebec, and there is also a Grand Prix at Mount Bachelor in Oregon. Justin, Mercedes, and I are opting to go south to Bachelor. We all agreed that the halfpipe down there would be more similar to Whistler’s world champs pipe, and it would be good to ride with the Americans to get pumped up for worlds. I also have the added bonus of riding pipe and snowboardcross at one location.

Rene, the snowboardcross coach, and the rest of the team will be down in Bachelor as well. The team members who decided to go to Mont Avilla are getting some good training in as well.

Tom, the pipe coach, will be holding a training camp on top of the competition.

Having the national team at the Nor Ams is also great for making that event higher profile. The Honda Tour of Champions is the Canadian Nor Am tour and it’s slowly building up in size. One day we hope it will be as big as the U.S. Grand Prix events. Having the team at these events will give up and coming Canadian riders a chance to earn valuable FIS points while attracting more people to enter the contests.

I can’t believe it’s already 2005! To ring in the New Year I went to a party at Ben Wainwright’s house. He’s a former national team member and my first snowboard coach. It was a great time and a great way to catch up with some of the old boardercross crew. Mark Simpson and Darren Chalmers were at the party, as well as legendary physiotherapist Lisa Kudla and message therapist extraordinaire Andrea Moore. What a perfect way to get stoked for the season! Happy New Year!

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