Ante Up at COP for boarding's best

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

When Scot Brown says "everyone is super sick," it's a good thing.

Brown and the rest of the competitors in today's Billabong Ante Up quarterpipe event at Canada Olympic Park are more stoked about ideal shredding conditions than worried about catching a cough or runny nose.

"You're going to see some pretty big air in the quarterpipe," said Brown, who hails from Blue Mountain, Ont.

"Guys are going to go pretty big and throw down pretty good ... Big air, spins, maybe flips and McTwists and stuff like that."

The Ante Up event returns to Canada Olympic Park, but with a twist.

This year, 50 of North America's top snowboarders will be competing for the $15,000 first-place prize in the quarterpipe. The winner will also punch a ticket to Billabong Innsbruck Air and Style 2009 at the end of month in Austria, one of only a half dozen six-star events in the world.

Last year, when Matts Kulisek took home the top prize, Ante Up was a Slopestyle competition.

"To ride a quarterpipe, you have to be able to ride everything," said Josh Warnick of Mammoth, Calif.

"You have to have really good board control and everything has to come together. It's a really technical obstacle."

The quarterpipe competition kicks off with qualifying at 10 a.m., and the final round is slated for about 2 p.m.

All told, fans will be treated to close to six hours of high-flying action.

Brown and Warnick, both sponsored by Billabong, felt like they had to make the trip to Calgary to find out what all the fuss is about.

The field also includes Brad Martin, a national team member who represented Canada in the halfpipe at the 2006 Winter Olympics and is definitely worth keeping an eye on next year at Whistler, and Calgary's own Dustin Craven, an up-and-comer who is getting his fair share of attention on the snowboard circuit.

With so many big names in the mix, Brown is certain spectators will see some eye-popping tricks at Canada Olympic Park today.

Just don't ask him to pick a winner.

"Obviously, somebody is going to stand out more than everybody else," he said.

"But I have no idea."


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