Whistler, Canada, February 12, 2002 ? The TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival, Whistler?s legendary spring party, has announced the creation of an exciting new snowboarding event, the Ripzone Snowboarding Invitational. Taking place April 12-14, 2002, the Ripzone Invitational will take place on the opening weekend of the Festival, and will fill the timeslot of the grand finale of the competitive snowboard season.

?We?re very excited to work with a company like Ripzone who shares our vision for pushing the boundaries of the competitive snowboard scene,? says Doug Perry, President of W1, producers of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival. ?We look forward to building an incredible event with Ripzone that will become deeply rooted in Whistler, and that will emerge as a new classic in the competitive season.?

The Ripzone Invitational will feature two events in its first year ? Superpipe and a Big Air like only Whistler can deliver. A minimum prize purse of $50,000 will be given away. Riders will be given two ways to qualify – by invitation, based on results from the season?s most important competitions or outstanding historical performances, and by a pre-qualifying Superpipe event to take place on site in Whistler.

?Ripzone is stoked to be part of this end-of-season Whistler tradition,? says Scott Hopkins, Marketing Guy, Ripzone. ?We?re building this event just as the Ripzone brand is achieving significant growth in the market. It?s a great celebration of that growth and a great way to connect to both the international riders and the Whistler scene.?

Whistler?s ability to throw an unrivalled 10-day party fusing sports and music together is well known. Snowboarding has been a major component of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival since the event?s inception seven 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.

The Ripzone Invitational will be produced in conjunction with Vancouver-based MASEV Communications, experts in the production of world-class action sports events. ?There?s no better group to partner with to produce this event,? says Perry. ?They?re simply the best in the business.?

A competition advisory team, comprised of top athletes and leaders in the snowboard industry, will design all aspects of the event. Details regarding prize money breakdown, event formats and invitation criteria will be announced shortly following advisory team meetings.

The events of the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival are presented in partnership by Whistler/Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler, and W1. Designed seven years ago to celebrate the end of the ski and snowboard season and showcase Whistler?s excellent spring snow conditions, the Festival has exploded into an end-of-season bash like no other.