Saturday Night Big Air takes Centre Stage at this Year’s Contest

WHISTLER, BC, February 12, 2004 — Whistler Resort is set to host the world’s best riders at the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational — the energetic kick off to Whistler’s legendary springtime fête, the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. The annual Ripzone Snowboard Invitational runs from April 16-18 and invites athletes to compete for over $55,000 in cash and prizes in Superpipe, an athlete-judged SuperHit, and Big Air.

This year’s contest returns to its roots to deliver a nighttime big air of epic proportions on April 17. Thousands of fans are expected to crowd into the Whistler Mountain base area to watch the spectacle unfold. Fused with hip hop and DJ beats pumping out from the Mainstage and an eclectic parade of visual treats, the Big Air will become one massive party not to be missed.

Not to be outdone, the famed Blackcomb Superpipe will play host to an international line-up of talented pipe riders through two days of competition. A qualifier will be held on April 18 to allow emerging athletes the opportunity to compete. The Finals on April 19 will feature 20 invited riders and 10 qualifiers in the men’s competition, and 12 invited riders plus eight qualifiers in the women’s field. A rider-judge SuperHit contest tops off the weekend’s event as finalists — men and women — let it all hang out for one last big hit, and a $5,000 prize.

Defending champions Marc-Andre Tarte (Big Air), Guillaume Morisset (Superpipe), Natasza Zurek (Superpipe) and Crispin Lipscomb (SuperHit) will be pitted against the top athletes in the game. Athlete invitations are extended based on results from the sport’s top contests including the X Games, the US Open, the Vans Triple Crown and last year’s Ripzone Invitational, as well as past performances and achievements. The Competition Design Team, comprised of industry leaders and riders, will award the invitations as well as influence all aspects of the event format.

Competitors have two ways to be a part of the action: get an invitation from the Design Team or secure a top 10 spot in the Superpipe Qualifier. Athletes are asked to complete and submit a Request for Invitation to be considered for an invitation or to enter the qualifier. Invitation Request Forms are available on-line at www.whistler2004.com/ripzone.html. The deadline to submit a request is March 1.

The Ripzone Snowboard Invitational is presented by Ripzone, Transworld Snowboarding, Crest Night Strips, Panasonic and Snowboard.com.

The Ripzone Snowboard Invitational and the ninth annual TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival are produced by W1 Inc. — Whistler’s largest sport and entertainment marketing company. The 2004 TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival takes place April 16 – 25. Known as the world’s most intoxicating mix of high-octane music, art, and sports, the Festival also features the World Skiing Invitational featuring Salomon Big Air and Superpipe, the DKNY//Jeans Outdoor Concert Series, the Kokanee Freeride Club Concerts, the Panasonic Pro Photographer Search and Showdown and the Filmmaker Showdown. For information, visit www.whistler2004.com or contact W1 at 604-938-3399.