Posted by Jess on Tuesday, May 1 - 10.46am

Huge jumps and a massive atmosphere at the Big Air - Jennie Warner

I have to be honest. I know nothing about big jumps on skis. I mean, I know I like looking at them, but what I mean is, I don't know the technical terms for them. I can't name them. Seriously, I don't even use the word 'dude'! I do, however, know when I'm enjoying myself. And Saturday night, at Whistler's Big Air, everyone had a great time. So while this blog won't be peppered with words like 'switch 1280' (I had to ask a friend for that), it will give non-industry folk an idea of the fun we have in Whistler, even if some of us are middle-aged, don't ski and don't wear sweatshirts the size of parachutes. Not everyone that lives in a ski village has seen a Big Air competition before. Including me. And to get a good eyeful, I walked a short way up the slope to be level with the 73 foot mountain of snow. Boy, it was monstrous. And there I stood, mesmerised at the amazing display of death-defying, aerials. Music blared from the Plaza below, the crowd whooped and cheered, and I did my best to take snap shots of human bullets whizzing through the air. The atmosphere was electric. The patios of the The Longhorn, the G.L.C., Black's and the Dubh Linn Gate Pub overflowed. The entire Plaza was shoulder to shoulder and both sides of the jump were lined with people. At a guesstimate, I reckon over 1000 people had turned out to watch, and I actually felt a swell of pride to be part of it. Half way through the show I ventured down amongst it. From here, I saw Colby James West, perform a massive spinning-thingy. He landed it, then laid himself on the snow to do a 'human caterpillar' dance. (I know the name of that. And I know it was him because the writing on the bottom of his skis told me so). The crowd absolutely loved it. Two quick witted compares kept the crowd entertained. I have been told since, one of them was skiing star Sean Pettit (For the record, some of the jumps were so technical and fast, and amazing, even he had to ask the athletes on landing 'dude, what was that?!'). Their chats with the athletes helped these sporting stars seem more attainable and gave the show a personal touch. All in all this was a 'show'. The TWSSF team had organised something brilliant. On top of the skiing, scantily clad go-go dancers gyrated on the concert stage to booming house music, and huge cinema sized screens showed live footage of the event as it unfolded. Although there were prizes at stake, the athletes, too, knew there was a crowd to please. I don't know the names of those that won. (*Ed Note: Women: 1st Emma Dahlstrom | 2nd Eveline Bhend | 3rd Rose Battersby Men: 1st Gus Kenworthy | 2nd Vince Gagnier | 3rd Joss Christensen: I did take a photo of the guys and girls when they were given their winner's cheques, and in the case of the men's 1st place winner, the keys to a brand new Chevrolet Sonic, but the picture was too blurry to read names on them. Buy, hey, this was never going to be an industry blog. I do know that I had a great time. The atmosphere was enthralling and has left me in awe of these amazing athletes. I'm now going to go and practise my credit card height bunny hops. - Jennie Warner