Panorama Mountain Village will be home to more slashing and ripping than a 1980s horror film as boarders tear up the 26th Annual Easy Rider Snowboard Cup banked slalom course March 30th and 31st.
The event, which attracted 443 competitors last year, is the largest snowboard competition in Canada and the third longest running snowboard competition in North America, said event organizer and founder Warren Currie.
“The Easy Rider is an anti-contest,” he said. “It is a fun snowboarding event more so than a ‘contest’ because it is designed for everyone to be able to partake and to be able to have fun.”
The Cup is sponsored by Warren’s shop, The Easy Rider, which has wrangled close to $40,000 worth of draw prizes for this year’s event, which is expected to take at least two hours to give away, he said.
“There are no prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place because the guys on the podium don’t need any more gear, but Little Timmy that comes 173rd is stoked beyond all belief to win anything,” he added.
Although many snowboard competitions focus on big air and terrain park prowess, the Easy Rider’s banked slalom course is an open invitation to anyone with a board and a little bravado.
“You can get kids that are four years old to people that are over 70,” he said. “The course is designed so that anybody that rides a snowboard can make it down. The guys that want to go really fast can go fast and everybody else can go around gates, make turns and have fun.”
The Easy Rider will run over two days with competitors completing one timed run over the banked slalom course on Saturday and a second run over the course on Sunday. Snowboarders concerned about their cornering will find their needs met by a “mystery” event attached to the main competition.
Although this event remains a secret until the day of, riders looking to prepare for the challenge will have to practice their “planting” skills to reap podium rewards on a specially-designed feature built by resort staff leading up to competition, Warren hinted.
Now approaching nearly three decades of putting the fun back into snowboarding, the Easy Rider was started by Warren and fellow organizers 26 years ago at Jasper’s Marmot Basin Ski Resort. Some of his proudest moments were shared during that competition.
“The most memorable thing would be the first year that each of my two kids competed in it,” Warren said. “One of them is now 18 and he has competed in 13 of them. The other is 14 and he has competed in 11 of them.”
In addition to watching his sons Trey and Griffin tear up the banked slalom event over the years, the business owner has also witnessed great courage on the course.
“The gnarliest aspect was the oldest competitor a couple of years ago was 72,” he told The Valley Echo.
Although the race began at Marmot Basin, the move to Panorama Mountain Resort over the past four years was an easy choice for the organizer.
“Jasper sucked the fun out of it,” he said. “The response and respect that Panorama has given us and the snowboarding consumer is why we are here.”
The entry fee to the competition is $25 and has remained unchanged since the event began 26 years ago. For more information on the Easy Rider Cup, please visit www.theeasyrider.com or call 780-413-4554.
The not-for-profit group Riders Aid will be on hand during the event to raise funds and awareness for impoverished countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.riders-aid.com .