The huge crowd at the Gibbons Style Session, as part of the WSSF in Whistler.

Could it be possible to have skiers and snowboarders compete together? We pushed to test out a new format and style of competition for the World Ski and Snowboard Festival (WSSF), and cats out the bag, it was awesome! Watching skiers and snowboarders team up for ultimate steeze as they hucked side by side off twin features into a Chromeo infused crowd by night was nothing short of jaw dropping. The talented athletes, the technical feature, the live music and the crowd stoke were at an all time high.

A few weeks before the Gibbons Style Session we invited some of the raddest skiers and snowboarders from around the globe and asked them to invite a friend of the opposite sport that they would like to compete with. We had 19 athletes RSVP with a partner of their choice, making for 19 teams total. Each team consisted of one skier and one snowboarder. We had 12 men’s teams and 7 women’s teams, with a total of 38 athletes the night of the competition. The duos rode the feature at the same time, were scored as individuals, and then their scores were combined for their team total.

A skier and snowboarder performing a trick during the Gibbons Style Session.

Tag teaming. Skiers and snowboarders simultaneously hit the trick feature to wow the crowds. Photo: Mitch Winton

Once Chromeo wrapped up their DJ set on the Fido Main Stage, our MCs Jeff Schmuck, Chris Rasman and Reed Holm, aka Reed Speed Man, ran the show and introduced the athletes as they stole the spotlight. Meanwhile, judges Cater Smith (snowboarding), Brad Broughton (snowboarding), Myles Ricketts (skiing) and Mauro Nunez (skiing) determined who made it to the finals. It was no easy feat judging such talented folks all throwing down in hopes of receiving a big chunk of that prize money! An $8000.00 cash prize would be awarded to the top men’s and women’s teams. That’s right, equal cash money for girls and guys, another not so normal concept we pushed for at this event that we’re proud of. Needless to say, there was a lot of cash on the line with opportunities not only to win as a team, but also to take home “Best Style Award” and “Highest Individual Score”.

Tyler Nicolson and Evan McEachran oozed style and stomped landings like it was nobody’s business and earned the top combined score for the men’s team.

Tyler Nicolson and Evan McEachran mid trick.

Sending it in style. Men’s winners Tyler Nicolson and Evan McEachran. Photo: Mitch Winton

Shredders Kaya Tursky and Spencer O’Brien had unstoppable style that landed them in a big pile of cash with the top combined score for the women’s team.

Kaya Tursky and Spencer O'Brien in the air.

In the air – hell yeah! Women’s winners Kaya Tursky and Spencer O’Brien. Photo: Mitch Winton

The Best Style Award went to Blaine Gallavan for his misty five with a hand plant, well-done Blaine. Highest Individual Score was earned by Ryan Manning in the qualifiers with a whooping 90.0!

The winners of the individual best tricks prizes.

In a league of their own. Individual prizes went to Ryan Manning and Blaine Gallavan. Photos: Mitch Winton

The Gibbons Style Session pushed the dial at this year’s festival and we’re okay with that. It was pretty cool to see big name skiers side by side with big name snowboarders working towards the same goal. We’re not trying to change the game, just having some fun with it! A big thanks to all the athletes for showing up, putting on their game face and getting sendy, but mostly for trying something new. The World Ski and Snowboard Festival may have come and gone for 2016, but we’re still riding the stoke wave. The Gibbons Style Session was a blast and I’m pretty dam sure we’ll do it again next year. Catch you next year WSSF!

Abby Cooper

A lover of all things outdoors, Abby Cooper is a splitboarder, hiker, adventurer, year-round snow seeker, photographer and writer.