The chosen ones 

Ripzone Invitational, World Skiing Invitational, Saab Salomon Crossmax release invite lists

Last week the organizers of the Ripzone Invitational, World Skiing Invitational and Saab Salomon Crossmax Series released their invite lists for the eighth annual Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.

It’s an all-star list, featuring some of the best skiers and snowboarders from around the world, and around town – many of the athletes who were invited happen to live right here in Whistler, and not because the event organizers wanted to save on postage.

Ripzone Snowboard Invitational – April 11 to 13

The Ripzone Snowboard Invitational had big shoes to fill last year as a replacement for the dearly departed World Snowboard Championships, which moved to a new home in Vail, Colorado. Most of the top athletes associated with the contest came anyway, and locals stepped up to fill the open spots.

This year’s Ripzone Events offer $65,000 in cash and prizes, spread out over three events: the Big Air, the Superpipe/Superhit jam contest, and a newly created Jibzone competition.

Big Air – Saturday, April 12

This year the Big Air contest will take place at the base of Whistler Mountain from 4 to 6 p.m. Expect crowds of over 10,000 spectators to be on hand to watch snowboarders twist and flip as they air out over an eight-foot high ramp and practically land in Mountain Square.

The atmosphere will be provided by the Hip Hop DJs Aceyalone, Abstract Rude (of Tribe Unique) and Tajai (of Souls of Mischief), as well as the crowd itself – the louder you cheer, the bigger the athletes will go. The $19,000 in cash prizes should also give them a boost.

The invitation list was based on results this season, last year’s Ripzone contests, or their reputation in the sport.

The list of Big Air invitations includes:

Alex Auchu, Whistler; David Carrier-Porcheron, Chicoutimi, Quebec; Dionne Delesalle, Vancouver; Guy Deschenes, Pemberton; Josh Feliciano, Tahoe City, California; Jesse Fox, Whistler; Andrew Hardingham, Banff; Roger Hjelmstadstuen, Norway; Jordan Mendenhall, Salt Lake City, Utah; Daniel Migneault, Whistler; Marc Frank Montoya, Salt Lake City, Utah; Guillaume Morisset, Whistler; Henki Oedegaard, Norway; Mike Page, Whistler; Kevin Sansalone, Whistler; Eero Niemela, Finland; Marc-Andre Tartre, Whistler; Paavo Tikkanen, Finland; Travis Williams, Vancouver; and the winner of the Canadian Air and Style contest in Calgary this weekend.

Stand in riders include Preston Strout, Jon Cartwright, JF Fortin, Kraig Kinsman, Mikey Rencz, Jon Roth, Mikee HK, and Ryan Lougee.

Jibzone – Sunday, April 13

This event is a rail and obstacle contest, to be held at the base of Whistler Mountain between 4 and 5 p.m. Riders will be competing for cash and prizes.

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