Okanagan residents will be able to witness professional snowboarders race at Big White Ski resort at the end of January.
— Big White Ski Resort (@BigWhite) January 12, 2020
The resort announced Monday that it will play host to the Inaugural Barrels and Berms FIS SBX World Cup. It is also the first time a competition of this magnitude has been held in Canada since 2013.
“Canada Snowboard has really shifted strategy this year and is pushing to host major events for all disciplines in Canada,” said Richard Hegarty, a spokesperson for Canada Snowboard.
“This year we are the only country in the world to be hopefully hosting all disciplines at world cup level for snowboarding. Within that goal, we then worked with all provinces to see who would host and B.C. put their hand up for the SBX. Big White has been a very large supporter of SBX in the past for the level before the world cup and so we thought it was a perfect partner.”
From Jan. 20 to 27, the Canadian National team and Next Generation team will have their sole opportunity to compete at home in 2020.
SBX team event is a boardercross competition where national teams have their athletes compete in an individual time trial base run for the preliminary runs. Then, the top 30 boarders who qualify for the playoff rounds will compete in heats of four.
“It’s basically like motocross in a sense,” said Hegarty.
“Four athletes drop out of the gate at the same time and go through the course over berms and big jumps. A lot of people fall. You end up with some pretty crazy crashes and the first one across the line wins. It’s a great sport to watch. In terms of any of the snow disciplines, it’s the most spectacular.”
Big White will be hosting all of the world’s top Olympic athletes including multiple World Championships and Olympic Medallists from around the globe.
Men’s Pyeongchang Olympic medalists such as France’s Pierre Vaultier, who won gold and Australia’s Jarryd Hughes will be seen shredding the mountain throughout the competition. Women’s gold medalist Michela Moioli (Italy) and silver medalist Julia Pereira De Sousa Mabileau (France) will also be in attendance.
Canadian Olympian and Big White local, Tess Critchlow, will be competing on home soil as well.
“Tess is a strong contender and has a very good chance of making it through to the finals,” said Hegarty.
“She has the ability to be in the final heat and with the support of family and friends around it only increases her chances.”
Both the individual SBX and the teams SBX events World Cup titles will be contested, with the team event being a new Olympic competition set to debut in 2022.