Golden, BC, Canada (December 13, 2009) – Last weekend Great Canadian Heli-Skiing was proud to host the 2009 FIS North American Freestyle Judge Clinic which included individuals who will be officiating at the 2010 Winter Olympics. In addition to the 16 attendees was International Judge Educator Marcello Centurione, the only North American chosen to be one of 5 scoring judges for the freestyle halfpipe snowboard event during the upcoming Winter Olympics. Marcello, who judged at the last Winter Games in Torino and is North America’s most experienced snowboard judge with over 50 world class events under his belt, specifically selected Great Canadian Heli-Skiing as the venue of choice as it is the perfect location to discuss the latest trends in judging while at the same time feeding the judges’ passion for snowboarding. He gave both the course and the heli-boarding “Perfect 10’s”!
“The terrain, the snow, the guides, the small groups of 4 and the possibility of run after run of unlimited vertical re-emphasised to us that Great Canadian Heli-Skiing is THE place to go heli-skiing!” exclaimed a passionate Marcello.
The goal of the clinic was to discuss and update participants on how best to judge freestyle snowboarding competitions. In judged sports other than snowboarding, competitors must announce which manoeuvres they are going to perform, or have a degree of difficulty assigned to them: not so in snowboarding! This freedom given to the riders to express makes it complicated for judges to score a run when a rider ‘throws down’ a trick that may have never been seen before. To this end, ‘progression’ was the main topic of discussion at the clinic. Progression is 1 of 8 criteria that a judge takes into account when scoring a rider along with Amplitude, Execution, Variety, Difficulty, Risk, Combos and Pipe Use.
If snowboarding superstars such as Shaun White and Canada’s own, Jeff Batchelor, unleash tricks never seen before, Marcello and his fellow Olympic judges will be ready for them, despite maybe never seeing the trick before in live competition. In the clinic they discussed the various potential ways riders can grab, cork, invert and spin themselves and their boards and how they would thus score them. So no matter what new trick a rider pulls out, the judging team will be prepared to score them fairly. This allows snowboarding to retain its “free”style image and reward progression while incorporating some structure.
Marcello said “the great thing about snowboarding is that it’s all about ‘freedom of expression’”. So why hold a judging clinic at Great Canadian Heli-Skiing? Since the structure of snowboarding freestyle competitions is centered on the freedom of expression, it is essential for a judge to personally stay connected with this ideal. What better way to stay connected than to go free-riding in the mountains?
Judge/Coach Mike Stastook exclaimed, “That was the best riding of my life! And I must admit, I have had some great days out there. I’ve toured Rogers Pass a lot, sledded all over Revelstoke and Golden, been catboarding before…but nothing compared to the experience that I had with you guys this weekend. The run selections were amazing, the pilot was unreal, my guide Allison was the best we could have asked for and our group was very tightly bound by our friendships. I will never forget this”.
The 2010 Olympic Halfpipe events will be held at Cypress Mountain on February 17th and 18th.
More Info: Visit CanadianHeli-Skiing.com
Great Canadian Heli-Skiing, the most accessible Canadian heli-skiing operation from an international airport, is located between Golden and Revelstoke BC in the heart of the world’s heli-skiing powder belt where it snows +14 metres (46 feet) annually. The company offers helicopter assisted guided skiing in the snow-choked mountains of the Purcell and Selkirk Mountain Ranges. In 1988 Great Canadian Heli-Skiing pioneered skiing in small groups of 4 and was the first to incorporate Unlimited Vertical (i.e. no extra charges for ski more than the guaranteed amount) in all packages.