The global governing body of Para snowboard, IPC Snowboard, alongside Canada Snowboard are proud to announce Big White Resort (Kelowna, British Colombia) as the official host mountain for the 2017 World Para Snowboard Championships.
Around 80 Para athletes from 25 countries will travel to Big White to compete in both snowboard-cross and banked slalom events in men’s and women’s SB-UL, SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 classifications between 1-9 February.
Once the training base for the Canadian Para snowboard team, Big White has already hosted four IPC Snowboard World Cup events and has been deeply involved in developing the sport within Canada. Patrick Jarvis, Executive Director of Canada Snowboard, is excited to once again see a world class event grace the venue.
“Canada Snowboard is both honoured and elated to be hosting the World Para Snowboard Championships in February 2017 and we are pleased to be working with our partners, IPC Snowboard, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and the host venue Big White Resort, to deliver an outstanding event,” Jarvis said.
“Our Organising Committee will work hard to ensure that the event matches the exploits and the performances of the Para snowboard athletes who will be competing for the title of world champion.
“Canada Snowboard is also extremely grateful for the financial support of Sport Canada and the Province of BC to make our hosting of this event possible. With this support and the efforts of all the key stakeholders including sponsors, volunteers and technical leaders, we expect this to be the highlight of the year for Para snowboard, setting the stage for the riders looking to compete at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea.”
Dimitrije Lazarovski, Head of IPC Snow Sports said: “Big White 2017 headlines the competition calendar for the coming season and we are really excited about what the organisers have planned. It is the biggest and most important event to take place ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 so we expect some exceptional performances from athletes. The standard of competition in this relatively young sport has increased rapidly and we are looking forward to what will come next.”
As the next Paralympic Winter Games loom closer, the world’s top athletes are eager to prove themselves against a larger field, and the Canadian National Para Snowboard Team (the largest to date) is no exception. Sochi 2014 Paralympian John Leslie is eager to test himself on the World Championships course.
“Like most of the events leading up to a Winter Games you must get everything out of it as you can,” Leslie said. “Having a World Championships in Canada and at our 'home' race course will boost my confidence and should hopefully lead to some good racing. I will have a solid idea of where I stand in the world and what will need to be done to come out with a gold in 2018 and at the World Championships.”
Leslie also hopes the event will not only have a big turnout, but will have a lasting impact on the sport in Canada.
“Big White has always gone above and beyond when it comes to hosting a world class event,” he continued. “From the banquet to the course quality, everything is done in amazing fashion. I would love to see a turn out at this World Championships. It would be great if we could interest the local communities into coming out and cheering on all the athletes. We race in a very exciting sport and so many people put a lot of effort into making these events so impressive to watch. When I look back on the Big White World Championships I hope the legacy is the connection with the community and drawing the biggest crowd to our event.”
Big White 2017 will be the second World Championships held under IPC Snowboard. In 2015 star performances were registered by Dutch teenager Chris Vos, who left La Molina, Spain, with two gold medals in the men’s SB-LL1 and teammate Bibian Mentel-Spee who did the same in the women’s SB-LL2.
The 2016-17 season calendar, featuring three World Cups including the PyeongChang 2018 Test Event, is available at IPC Snowboard’s website. https://www.paralympic.org/snowboard/calendar-results