Youngest competitor crowned king 

Pettit brothers rule at the Jib Fest

Tough he was smaller and younger than the rest, 10-year-old Sean Pettit was still the best.

The local Grade 5 student took home glory and honour Saturday night after being crowned King of the Rails.

There were 66 competitors in Whistler-Blackcomb’s first night time Jib Fest, and the young Pettit won in the men’s skiing division.

His fellow competitors and the crowd who gathered near the Magic Chair for the two-hour show decided his win.

"They were just so impressed by the kid," said Jeremy Roche, marketing co-ordinator for Whistler-Blackcomb.

Sean’s older brother, 13-year-old Callum, who was the second youngest competitor, also took home a prize for the best trick.

The brothers have lived in Whistler for the past six years after moving here with their mom from Quebec.

"There’s so much available for them here," said Debra Hillary.

"It’s been a struggle but this is where they need to be."

They may have inherited some of their skiing genes from their mom, who is a ski instructor at Whistler-Blackcomb.

"They’ve been skiing with me for a long time and they just have a passion for it."

When it’s snowing the boys are out skiing powder and cliffs, but when the sun is shining they’re more likely to be hanging out at the Terrain Park on Blackcomb.

"The park is just such a natural playground for them," said the proud Hillary.

Saturday’s King of the Rail competition involved three different rails for competitors to perform their tricks.

There was a "battleship," which is an uphill to a flat section and then down. There was a "kink," which is a straight rail, followed by a descent, followed by another straight rail. And there was also a "step down," which is an immediate descent followed by a straight rail.

Those three features enticed 53 men and 13 women bring out their boards and skis and join in the fun.

The competitors were given an hour and a half to "session" or ride the rails. In the end, everyone voted on the winners. Prizes were awarded in a variety of categories.

Roche said the competition’s goal was to get in touch with the youth market.

He said they achieved that by advertising in the schools, the community centre and the library. Most of the contestants were local and in their teens and 20s.

"It was really a grassroots type thing," he said.

The competition costs $2 to enter. Contestants must sign a waiver and there are no inverted tricks allowed. Patrollers are also on duty during the event.

The Pettit boys will most likely be defending their honour on Saturday at the next King of the Rail competition. There will be a competition every Saturday until April 5.

Competitors can sign up at 4:30 p.m. at the Ski and Snowboard School Sales desk at the Blackcomb Daylodge.

The rail competition is part of the Whistler-Blackcomb Night Moves in which the Magic Chair stays open from 5 to 9 p.m. every Thursday to Saturday.

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