Tag Archives: snowboarding canada

The 16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom

Racing back to Whislter in a rental car from Squamish I do the math in my head. Will we be able to pick everyone up in time and make it out to Big White before ‘Check In’? It’s a beautiful Spring day which makes for great road-trips and we certainly did as 7 of us squeezed our boards, boots, bodies and bags and took off down the Kokahala Highway.

An epic weekend filled with excellent snow, friendly company and a competition which is like no other. This is my 3rd season participating in this event and I can honestly say it was my most favorite weekend of the season. As I won the Mens’ 25-34 category last season it was only appropriate that I step up to the PRO division and compete with the big boys. World Cup racers and Olympic level athletes strap in beside me as I prepare myself for one of two runs down a rutted, fogged in & hair raising course. Day one went very well as I placed 3rd however a crash on a berm day 2 lowered my place to 8th overall. Martin Juare and JP Fok landed themselves with a podium! 270 keen snowboarders and snowskaters of all ages and abilities participated in what is believed to be one of the most respected banked slaloms in the world.

Many thanks goes to Flynn Seddon and his event staff along with Big White for hosting another fine event. The sponsors were proud to be part of the event and were yet again generous with their schwag and prizes. Of course there is a huge thank you to the special group of friends I had the pleasure of traveling, living and riding with over the weekend… Let us aim to make this event bigger and better for the Whistler Crew next season!

16th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom from Richie Johnston on Vimeo.

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This Magical Place

As I scroll through my Instagram photos, it seems I have a fascination with clouds and the magic that surrounds me. Every day brings new weather systems creating beautiful and inspiring scenery. The itch to snap it up these moments continue as I work and play here in Whistler, BC… Below are some of the highlights, most of which I shoot from an iPhone.

Anticipation builds as I wait patiently for my ride to the mountains...
Anticipation builds as I wait patiently for my ride to the mountains…

We 'skin' towards a not yet open Blackcomb Glacier in search of fresh snow and stories
We ‘skin’ towards a not yet open Blackcomb Glacier in search of fresh snow and stories

December treated us well with near record snowfall
December treated us well with near record snowfall

12 minutes of epic views!
12 minutes of epic views!

Always a pleasure to ride with JohnShellybro and friends. So much training to be had here, massive opportunities to practice in a rich & fun learning environment
Always a pleasure to ride with JohnShellybro and friends. So much training to be had here, massive opportunities to practice in a rich & fun learning environment

Much to the surprise of my friends, I crawled down through a wind drift to find this one.
Much to the surprise of my friends, I crawled down through a wind drift to find this one.

When snow looks like the ocean high above the clouds
When snow looks like the ocean high above the clouds

Enjoying the spray on a sunny morning
Enjoying the spray on a sunny morning

Between Whistler & Blackcomb through the glass floor of the Peak to Peak
Between Whistler & Blackcomb through the glass floor of the Peak to Peak

@Photobymaree does her warm up before an afternoon ride
@Photobymaree does her warm up before an afternoon ride

Above the clouds reminding me of Treble Cone's inversion
Above the clouds reminding me of Treble Cone’s inversion

Into the Mist
Looking beyond the Symphony boundary
Looking beyond the Symphony boundary

Waiting patiently for the bus, looking back on over 8000 acres of playground.
Waiting patiently for the bus, looking back on over 8000 acres of playground.

The heavens open above the learner slope
The heavens open above the learner slope

Euro/Russian carve...
Euro/Russian carve…

Sunny day shred
Sunny day shred

While enjoying Lunch in a guest's house I was able to get curious down to the village below
While enjoying Lunch in a guest’s house I was able to get curious down to the village below

15th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom

My heart beats faster and butterflies flap furiously. I strap my feet into my bindings and feel the board glide towards the start gate, this wax was a good choice. A blend of Rolling Stones and the announcers voice prepare me for my first run. Breathe!

This event is in memory of Neil Edgeworth, an influential Canadian snowboarder who passed away in 1997 in an avalanche in Chamonix, France while filming a photo shoot with friends.  The first banked slalom was in 1987 and was reintroduced in 1997 with an average of  245 people per year. A record 259 this year!

Once again, the Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom was a huge success. Riders young as 9 and old as 67 who love snowboarding come to Big White, BC and enjoy the spirit of competition. Keen riders, mostly from the Okanhagan and BC area ride down a natural gully full of ruts, berms and rollers. Crashes and fast runs are equally cheered with support even coming from the Ridge Rocket chairlift which passes overhead.

Flynn Seddon, Director of Terrain Park at Big White Ski Resort “The Neil Edgeworth banked slalom has defined itself as an epic true spirit gathering for the sport of snowboarding.  The gathering represents what snowboarding is all about and that is friends having fun.  The industry sponsors who support the banked slalom showed just how much it means to be a part of the weekend by donating over $25,000 worth of prizing and $5000 dollars in cash.”

My best time was done on day one, 1:18:98 placing me 1st place from 54 riders in the Male 25-34 category. During the presentation Flynn shared to everyone about my Kidney donation at the beginning of the season. I think it is awesome for people to know that donors can recover quickly and get on with their passions in life, with one of mine being snowboarding with friends.

2012 Neil Edgeworth Memorial results:

Thanks to all the Events & Terrain Park crew, Cathy from BC Snowboard Association, competitors, spectators, families and friends who made all this possible.

Photo credit: Jonnie Millan