For Revelstoke snowboarders, the S-Games is the biggest event on the winter calendar.
Organized by Karl Jost, the owner of Society Snow & Skate, and hosted at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the event, which is entering its seventh season, attracted a few dozen competitors and hundreds of spectators.
When news emerged that the event wouldn’t be held this year, supporters flooded RMR’s Facebook page with one-star reviews — bashing the resort for cancelling an event that sits at the heart of the local snowboarding community.
Meanwhile, Jost is moving the event to Mount Norquay in Banff National Park.
“We tried to work with (RMR) as best we could and tried to work with any changes they asked me for, but still it just wasn’t happening here this year so I am looking at moving it out of town to another resort,” Jost told the Review last week, before making the move official. “I don’t want to do that, I’d love to have it stay in Revelstoke, especially for the locals that enjoy it so much.”
News that the event wouldn’t be held spread a few weeks ago, but even while RMR was getting blasted online, Jost declined to go on record, saying he was still hoping to save it. Unfortunately, his efforts were unsuccessful.
“They said safety was an issue and drinking and stuff like that but I had viable solutions for all of that,” he said.
Confusing matters is the fact that in February, Jost told the Review that RMR wanted to expand the S-Games to two days this year, with a jib event in the terrain park and the hip jump outside the day lodge.
Snowboarding legend Terje Haakonsen leads Sochi Olympics gold medallist Mark McMorris off the hip jump during the 2014 S-Games at Revelstoke Mountain Resort. ~ Revelstoke Review file photo
Peter Nielsen, the vice-president of operations for RMR, said there may have been some early discussions about expanding the S-Games, but that the event was never on the official calendar and that the resort brought up safety concerns last year.
“We asked the organizers to submit a proposal to get it on this year’s calendar that would address those concerns. We didn’t receive that proposal until four weeks ago,” Nielsen said. “We never had it in our calendar so we don’t view it as a cancelation.”
Nielsen declined to get into specifics. “There was discussion post the event last year, there was concerns around safety,” he said. “I imagine there was a whole bunch of discussion on how to address that amongst the organizers and our event guys. I wasn’t privvy to all the convseravtions but we didn’t receive a proposal from them until the month of February.”
Jost was disappointed about the decision, but said he wants to bring it back to RMR next year. He wants it to remain a local, grassroots snowboarding competition.
“Hopefully I can work with them next year and we can make a plan that won’t destroy our event,” he said. “It stands for being true to snowboarding and rewarding creativity and not caring about giant sponsors like energy drinks. We don’t want that to be part of our event, we want to keep it very grassroots.”
On a positive note, RMR is bringing back Cabin Fever, which is organized by The Cabin, on April 22-23, a week after the resort officially closes.
“We’re really happy with how most of our events went this year. We plan on having more and more inclusive events in our coming calendar years,” said Nielsen. “I encourage people if they have ideas and events to approach our events team and we’ll consider them.”