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Snowboarders grab air at The Forks as MTS Snow Jam competition begins

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 NOT just for snowy hills anymore, urban snowboarding is coming to The Forks on today and Saturday as MTS Snow Jam invades the Arctic Glacier Winter Park with a prize package of $5,000 up for grabs.

About 50 athletes ages 13 and up in the men’s open and women’s categories will take over the snowboard park at The Forks, which has been upgraded especially for this event with a quarter pipe that was built this just week.

Other features include rail slides and boxes.

"It’s the first of its kind in Winnipeg. There’s never been an urban-setting contest, ever, so to bring snow­boarding right to the heart of Winnipeg, that’s pretty cool," said Al (Sundog) Tichborne, 19, a member of the Two Zero Four Skate Shop snowboard team and a con­tender in the open men’s division. "They’re going to have placings first through fifth, and whoever throws down the hardest, and with a little bit of luck, will take home the cash.

"This is pretty much the biggest competition for the Prairies. Out west in the mountains, they have pretty big competitions, but for us to have a $5,000 cash prize and all these sponsors, it’s pretty big."

Tichborne said local snowboarding usually takes place at Spring Hill and Stony Mountain.

He said competitors can enter on site and all snow­board enthusiasts are being encouraged to try the course. Competition goes today from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sat­urday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The competition is being run in a "jam" format, which means competitors each have a half-hour perform their best tricks. Main events that will be judged for prize money will the 30-foot down rail and down-flat-down box. A ROME snowboard will be award­ed to the winner of the quarter-pipe event.

"There’s going to be plenty to keep spectators busy.

We expect the open men’s to be very entertaining," said Chris Mellen, owner of Two Zero Four ,which is hosting the event. "We kept it (the men’s division) open because with some of the rails there, there’s high consequences if you don’t do it properly. They’re pretty gnarly rails, so if there’s some kids who are good enough to hit the rails, they’ll go in the open men’s category."

Mellen said he hopes the MTS Snow Jam will become the premier competition for the sport here and encourage recreational riders to try competing.

 ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

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