This week, is the fourth year Sun Peaks has hosted the first stop of the Air Nation tour and this year organizers brought a new category to the event, Big Air. Having been included as an Olympic sport in 2018 in Pyeongchang, Air Nation organizers decided to add the event to day two of competition according to BC Snowboard executive director Cathy Astofooroff.
“You think Big Air you think Mark McMorris and these huge jumps. What it is, is the last jump within the park. They’ve actually been training on it through the slopestyle, it’s just one jump is judged for the big air portion of it,” she stated.
Five days out from the event 60 participants had registered for the competition however Astofooroff anticipated another 15 registrants.
“This event that we’re talking about at Sun Peaks is a NorAm level event so it’s a higher level event and it’s a FIS level which is the international level of NorAm. They have to be 13 plus to have a FIS license,” said Astofooroff.
This year’s event had competitors from across Canada, the USA, Australia and Jamaica register as competitors.
“The purpose of a NorAm level event at the end of the day (is for) the top athletes get World Cup starts and get recognized at the higher level event. It’s a very important piece of their pathway to get to the next level.”
For younger competitors, Astofooroff said, it’s a great opportunity for them to be judged against higher level athletes.
“I would love to see it keep happening at the level it is. It services a very important part of the long term athlete development at the NorAm level, it could possibly go to a higher level,” she said. “At this point we provincially only deal with NorAm’s and nationals, in the future who knows?”
The competition will be held Jan. 22 to 24 before heading to Mont Tremblant from Feb. 1 to 3.