Coming up to our closing weekend at Big White was pretty emotional to say the least. It's always hard bringing a season to a close, especially somewhere we've been so settled for 6 months. Big White is nothing if not a unique, homely community so it's a huge wrench to be dragged away from it.
Fortunately, the highlight of our events calendar occurs just before the closing weekend every year and this time - WE got to compete in it too! The 16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom took place on weekend April 6th/7th 2013. We spent a week hauling all our events gear from TELUS Park over to the Squirrel/Rollercoaster Gully underneath the Ridge Rocket Chair (for those in the know) and trying in vain to stop riders 'poaching' the course whilst we were building it. It was the most enjoyable event we've worked on as we got to compete alongside professional atheletes, locals, seasoned racers and all ages. The focus was on everyone having fun and it's an experience I will never forget.
Over 230 riders joined in for what became one helluva party over the course of the 2 days. Each competitor is allowed one inspection lap before one run on each the saturday and sunday, PLUS a huge slap up banquet on saturday night followed by a monumental awards ceremony on the sunday night. The events team managed to fit in our lap of the course by switching up with some of the park crew during the day, the rest of the time we were setting up the course, maintaining it and being gate keepers to make sure no one was doing any of that there cheating.
I was so nervous on my first run that I ended up getting disqualified - I'm not going to go into the 'hows' and 'whys' because it's totally humiliating so we're just going to focus on the Sunday run - OKAY? Standing in the start gate is so exhilarating and terrifying at the same time I could barely speak - and that is extremely odd for me. Taking off from that start gate is like having a heart attack and and being struck by lightning at the same time. I was just desperate to stay upright and not skid out at anywhere, whilst also trying desperately to snag a time that wouldn't land me in last place (my best friend at work bet $10 I would come last - nice guy). By the time I negotiated the gully, I went into the rollers not able to feel my hands and feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. It was amazing to cross the finish line and know I'd actually made it all the way through!
Pro snowboarders male
The course was pretty gnarly to say the least...I just wanted to make it through! Of course, things got a little bit competitive between the boys on the events/park crew so it was all to play for if you wanted to keep your reputation upstanding in TELUS park! One of our guys managed to come 6th overall in his category on the first day so there was plenty of 'IN YO FACE' raging going on!
Sunday gives the riders time to improve on the first run but times aren't released until the prize giving at the end of the day. Meanwhile, we had over $20,000 worth of gear to give away in addition to the prize money so door prizes were thrown out left, right and centre to the Neil Edgeworth gang in Happy Valley by none other than our legendary Flynn Seddon - Director of Terrain Park and Events at Big White.
We were up on the hill finishing off but managed to make it down for the results around 6pm. As we walked through the doors, soaking wet and freezing from what was our 13hr on the course, we received a standing ovation from every single one of the competitors in the event. The entire floor of Happy Valley day lodge stood to cheer and applaud us as we walked in and I've never felt so overwhelmingly happy in my life. More so, because I love being the centre of attention and it was like being in a film, but also because we were so exhausted it was AMAZING and made all our work worthwhile.
Honestly, that was one of the most unique experiences of my life. When will I EVER get to compete in an event like that again? A professional level course, unique to Big White's terrain and with that manay participants? It's probably going to be one of the best things I've ever done and I am determined to enter next year, and take as many of you along with me as I can! Especially since I've got some training to do - I came 29th out of 32 in my category! Hey- at least my buddy had to give ME $10!!
To keep up to date with all of next years info and details of how to register check out the Big White TELUS Park Events page.