Whistler, BC, March 4, 2003 ­ Whistler Resort is set to welcome the best riders in the world to the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational ­ the opening event of the legendary TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. This year¹s Ripzone Snowboard Invitational, April 11-13, will feature Superpipe, Big Air and an all-new Jib contest – Jibzone. The Invitational is regarded as the season¹s competitive grand finale and this year¹s plans are set to deliver the biggest and best event to date.

As the Invitational continues to evolve, the addition of Jibzone as the third discipline to the event will allow a wider field of riders to participate. Wrapping up the 2nd annual three-day Ripzone Snowboard Invitational, the Jibzone will see 15 men and 8 women competing in a one-hour jib session in front of the après crowds at the Whistler Mountain base on Sunday afternoon, April 13.

With the addition of Jibzone, the total cash and prize purse has now grown to over $65,000 ­ with Panasonic providing prizes for the Jibzone event. The total prize pool will be spread across the three disciplines of Superpipe including the SuperHit contest, Big Air and Jibzone.  

This year¹s line-up of attending athletes is expected to be strong. At last year¹s event, Whistler¹s Mike Page overcame a debilitating injury to take first place in the Big Air. In the Superpipe, USA¹s Andy Finch fought off tough competition from fellow American Keir Dillon to take the winning spot in the men¹s division. SuperHit champion Mike Michalchuk threw down his signature double-Michalchuk moments before the half-hour jam ended, and won the $5000 SuperHit prize. France¹s Doriane Vidal dominated the women¹s competition, easily taking first place.  

Ripzone Snowboard Invitational competitors have two ways to be a part of the action  ­ receive an invitation from the Design Team, based on results from the season¹s most prestigious competitions and outstanding historical performances; OR enter the Superpipe Qualifier, to take place prior to the finals on Blackcomb¹s infamous Superpipe, and secure a top 10 result. This pre-qualifying event is a great way for young and up-and-coming riders to try out for the finals where they¹ll be competing with the top riders for the big money. Open to the first 60 men and 30 women to enter, it¹s a great chance for emerging riders to break on to the scene.  Riders can enter or request an invitation by visiting the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival web site: www.livelarge.ca

“Everyone at Ripzone is very excited with the overall Festival experience, of which the Invitational is a major part,” says Scott Hopkins, Marketing Guy, Ripzone. “Last year¹s event was a great opportunity and we look forward to another incredible event from W1 and MASEV. The athlete pool for last year was overwhelming in its breadth of talent and we can’t wait to see the level of competition for this year.”

TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival Chairman Doug Perry says: “As we approach another year of the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational, the bar is being raised yet again as the calibre of competition increases, attracting an ever-growing group of talented riders. This contest is traditionally a time for the riders to give it their all, enjoying the low-stress and high-energy of this end-of-season tradition.”

A Competition Design Team, made up of athletes and industry leaders are involved with designing all aspects of the event and overseeing the rider invitations. By involving athletes throughout the design process, the event has gained a unique distinction in the industry. The 2003 Design Team includes: Transworld Snowboarding¹s Editor Kurt Hoy, pro riders Keir Dillon, Kevin Sansalone, Jeff Keetley, Maelle Ricker, and Ripzone¹s Adrian Millar.

The Ripzone Snowboard Invitational will be produced in conjunction with Vancouver-based MASEV Communications, experts in the production of world-class action sports, music and enteertainment events. The Ripzone Snowboard Invitational is the kick-off event of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival, which is presented in partnership by Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler and W1.

The Ripzone Snowboard Invitational is sponsored by Ripzone, Transworld Snowboarding, Panasonic, Snowboard.com and Adrenaline.

The 8th TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival is a 10-day high-energy event fusing sports, music and action, April 11-20. Snowboarding has been a major component of the Festival since its inception eight years ago. As the 10-day Festival has evolved, so have the many events and parties that make up the overall Festival. Today the top-notch calibre of event production, concert line-up, crowds, athletes, photography events, and industry parties combine to create an event unmatched in North America.This year¹s Festival highlights include: Ripzone Snowboard Invitational; free DKNY//JEANS LIVE Outdoor Concert Series; Garnier Fructis World Skiing Invitational featuring Salomon Big Air and Superpipe; RBC Olympic FanFair and RBC Rink on the Mountain; Super Demo Days; Biglines.com Snow Film Fiesta; Whistler DogFest; Saab Salomon Crossmax Series; and the Kokanee Freeride.