Stage set for a Showdown 

New twists on pipestyle format to keep things interesting

click to enlarge Show Your Pipestyle An artist's rendering of what the 2008 Sapient Showcase Snowboards course will look like this year. The competition gets underway on Friday and wraps up under the lights on Saturday night.
  • Show Your Pipestyle An artist's rendering of what the 2008 Sapient Showcase Snowboards course will look like this year. The competition gets underway on Friday and wraps up under the lights on Saturday night.

With $50,000 in prizes up for grabs, including $25,000 cash, organizers are expecting an all-star field this weekend for the Sapient Showcase Showdown, Feb. 29-Mar. 1.

The format for the third consecutive year is “pipestyle”, with the event taking place in the World Championship halfpipe at Base II. This year’s contest starts with a drop-in from a raised platform to hip jumps on either side of the pipe. Competitors will be able to squeeze in one or two halfpipe tricks after that before hitting a park bench and their choice of three rails to the finish.

The action gets underway at 4:30 p.m. on Friday with the qualifiers. The women will run until 5:30 p.m., followed by the first men’s heat from 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the second men’s heat from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. under the lights.

There is a semi-final qualifier on Saturday, with the women at 3:30 p.m., the first men’s heat at 4:30 p.m. and the second men’s heat at 5:50 p.m. The finals get underway at 7:30 p.m.

The event is designed to be spectator-friendly, with the gondola running to Base II for free, and organizers are giving away 20 free Sapient snowboards on-site in honour of Zero Ceiling’s 10 th anniversary providing snowboarding and career opportunities for at-risk youth. Zero Ceiling will also host the official kick-off party tonight (Thursday, Feb. 28), to thank their supporters over the years.

At press time more than 40 riders were confirmed, and the event is expected to sell out by registration on Friday. For the men, the top three athletes will receive cash prizes of $10,000, $5,000 and $2,000, while all the competitors in the top-10 will get a prize. The top three women will get $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively, with sponsor prizing for fourth and fifth place.

Last year Chris Wimbles was the top male rider, while Pilar Peterson has won the past two years for the women.

A maximum of 50 men and 20 women will be accepted, with registration at Showcase Snowboards and Whistler-Blackcomb Guest Relations.

In addition to a new course layout, there is also a beer garden this year for spectators that provide proof of age, as well as a DJ booth to keep crowds entertained between runs.

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