Whistler, BC – With just over a week to go until the Nokia Snowboard FISWorld Cup returns to Whistler, the World Cup sites on Blackcomb Mountainalready enjoy excellent snow cover and are being tested by local riders. Part of the HSBC Whistler WinterStart Festival, the World Cup events willbe the final highlight of this ten day season opening celebration, whichruns from December 3rd-12th.

This is the fourth consecutive year that FIS World Cup events have beenstaged in Whistler and will include Giant Slalom, Audi Snowboard-Cross andTelus Mobility Halfpipe, December 10, 11th and 12th. Whistler will be thefourth stop on this year’s Snowboard FIS World Cup Tour – the first eventin Tandadalen, Sweden had to be postponed, but athletes will have competedin three European events before coming to Whistler.

Giant Slalom replaces Super GWhistler has been able to stage Super G races for the past three years onthe Dave Murray Downhill Course on Whistler Mountain, which hastraditionally been prepared for men’s alpine racing a week earlier. As thealpine events will not take place this year, the race has been changed to aGiant Slalom on Blackcomb, adjacent to the Snowboard-Cross and Halfpipe areas. Race Chairman, Mark Taylor says, “This year all three events takeplace on Blackcomb and we’ve changed the Super G to a GS race. Without thesafety systems and snowmaking, which have in the past been in place for themen’s alpine ski events, the logistics of running a snowboard Super G werenot feasible. We’re again offering a total purse of $120,000 and areexpecting the whole Canadian National Snowboard Team to compete, as well asa strong field of pro and international riders.”

Superpipe pushes riders to new heightsA ‘Superpipe’ dragon will be used for the first time to groom the halfpipeon Blackcomb. One of only three such grooming machines in North America,the ‘Superpipe’ dragon means the World Cup pipe will be one of the biggeston the circuit. Built to the maximum of FIS specifications it will offerriders a smoother, bigger in-run, with an easier transition and landing. The walls will be 4 metres (13 feet) high – the maximum allowed on thecircuit.